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New ‘How to Rent’ Guide – 10 December 2020


MHCLG has published a new ‘How to Rent Guide’ today, 10 December 2020. I’ve added it to the archive.

As a reminder, for any post 1 October 2015 assured shorthold tenancy, or ‘renewal’ tenancy (where the guide as been updated), the tenant must be provider with the How to Rent Guide, and that must be the most recent version at the time of the tenancy start (or if served later, likely a later version would do), or the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice. It has to be provided to the tenant in hard copy, unless the tenant has expressly agreed to a PDF version by email. Sending the tenant a link will not do.

Intriguingly, as well as including the electrical safety regulations, this version notes the forthcoming ending of section 21 but cautions section 21 is still valid in the meantime…




Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Mandy Thomson

    Some points:

    • “If the ‘landlord’ is not the property owner – and they claim to be a tenant, a family member or a friend, be very cautious, as it could be an unlawful sub-letting.” Why doesn’t this advise the tenancy applicant to ask the apparent mesne landlord for signed authorisation to let their property from the owner or a tenancy agreement made between the owner and the landlord? Also include a link to the Land Registry so the tenancy applicant can verify who the owner is and contact them if necessary?

    • Electric safety certificate – my understanding is this is mandatory for all tenancies from 1 JUNE 2020 but landlords were given a grace period till 1 July to get the inspection done and serve the certificate.

    • “If the property is in an unsafe condition and your landlord won’t repair it – contact [HOUSING ENFORCEMENT AT] your local authority. They have powers to make landlords deal with serious health and safety hazards. You can also report this to your local Trading Standards.” As far as I’m aware only dangerous faults with furniture and appliances supplied by the landlord will be dealt with by Trading Standards.

    • “If you are having financial problems, or are falling into rent arrears, speak to your landlord as they may be helpful, and are likely to be more sympathetic if you talk to them about any difficulties early on…” I would also add that of all the bills a tenant needs to pay, their rent should take high priority as this is for the roof over their head.

    • The section that mentions the ending of Section 21 should also state that it is very likely that this will only apply to assured shorthold tenancies made after this becomes law.

    • It should also mention that when a tenant leaves the property they should not only remove all their belongings, but should ensure the property is cleaned to the same standard it was cleaned to when they received it, particularly if an inventory was taken. Failure to do so could result in a deduction from their deposit if the landlord is forced to bring in a professional cleaner.

  2. Alex Andrews

    “… for any post 1 October 2015 assured shorthold tenancy, or ‘renewal’ tenancy (where the guide as [sic] been updated), the tenant must be provider with the How to Rent Guide …”

    Without wishing to sound ignorant, what exactly is a “renewal” tenancy? And is there any legislation/precedent in respect of the requirement to be provided with the How to Rent Guide for such tenancies? Thanks very much!

    • Giles Peaker

      We dealt with this in 2015, for heavens sake. And the ‘renewal tenancy’ has been an issue since 2013 and Superstrike ( ) . So, I’m afraid you do sound ignorant. At least 5 years worth of ignorant.

      Simple answer, any fixed term tenancy that replaces a previous fixed term tenancy, or any statutory periodic tenancy arising at the end of a fixed term.

      • Alex Andrews

        Thanks very much for that – most useful (although it has triggered a couple more questions 8-). And apologies for not being completely au fait and up-to-date with housing law – alas I am a lowly mathematician and have had no legal training.

        • Giles Peaker

          The answer is out there if you look for it, is what I meant.

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