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How to Rent Guide – new version


DLUHC has today (24 March 2023) issued a revised version of the How to Rent guide.

This is important because for any post 1 October 2015 assured shorthold tenancy, or ‘renewal’ tenancy (where the guide as been updated at the time of the new tenancy), the tenant must be provided with the How to Rent Guide, and that must be the most recent version at the time of the tenancy start date/’renewal’ date (or if served later, likely a later version would do). If this is not done, the landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice. (The guide can be provided to the tenant late, just so long as it is done before the service of 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.

The new version is here, and has been added to the ‘How to rent guide’ archive page.


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. Luke

    It’s just occurred to me today (when an update to the How to Rent guide has been issued), that the previous version of December 2020 *also* had its name changed to ‘How to Rent a Safe Home: A guide for current and prospective tenants in England’). They since gone back to the ‘How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England’ (as per the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015) in the current version published today, but does that mean the one we’ve all been using for the last couple of years was also incorrect?

      • Luke

        Yes, I remember the post at the time (I also posted the same comment on there just before this particular article was released). What I’m getting at is that, as you pointed out back in 2018, the title of the document cannot be changed. The version prior to today (December 2020) was NOT called ‘How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England’ but rather ‘How to Rent a Safe Home: A guide for current and prospective tenants in England’! My question was, have we all been issuing what is effectively an invalid version since December 2020?

        • Giles Peaker

          The December 2020 version wasn’t called that. It was only for a brief interlude in 2018.

  2. Ben Reeve Lewis

    Did govt ever clarify the standing of the easy read guide?

    • Tim Taylor

      I’ve always thought that it is there to enable landlords to make reasonable adjustments for tenants with either sub-par literacy in English or poor vision, so that they aren’t committing discrimination?

      • Giles Peaker

        Well yes, the question is its status – has the guide been provided if the landlord only provides the easy read version? My view – no. And particularly where, as now, the guide has been updated, but the easy read version hasn’t been.

        • Tim Taylor

          Yeah, I think you’d have to be really quite silly as a landlord thinking of providing someone with an easy read version for their own convenience/ease/benefit without also simultaneously providing the standard version. If you’re going to the trouble to provide any official booklet at all, then why not just cover your bases and give both. I mean I would actually take back that “silly” in favour of masochistic as to be insane.

          But in cases of such mysteries it always seems that FOOA2000 is probably the best tool available for discovering what the original genesis and intention of the easy read pamphlet was supposed to be.

  3. Tom

    Thanks for the update:
    Of good intent
    Poorly written
    Contains some useful information/links
    Glosses over some complicated topics missing key detail
    Never read by the intended audience
    Tripping hazard to obtaining possession

  4. Paul Ellis

    If a tenancy become statutory periodic, does that mean for all of these several hundred thousand tenancies that this new version needs to be given to the tenant

    • Giles Peaker

      Yes. It always has meant that. If a ‘new tenancy’ (new fixed term or becomes statutory periodic) and the Guide has a new version since the last one was given, it must be provided.

  5. Mr Clive Bowyer

    Please understand I have no legal training.
    I issued a Standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement on 18/04/2020 for 6 months does that meant it automatically becomes statutory periodic on 18/10/2020?
    On the same tenancy I issued a Section 21 and subsequently it is in the Court, it is claimed I have issued an incorrect How to Rent. They are saying I should have used the Easy Read guide July 21, or the March 23 versions and now have leave to file this defence within 21 days.
    Which is the correct guide which (with the benefit of hindsight) should have been issued, and inf necessary should I have issued the March 23 guide when I issued the Section 21.

    Your comment would be appreciated

  6. Mr Clive Bowyer

    If you cant comment on individual matters.

    Does a Standard Shorthold become Statutory Peioidic at the end of the original term?
    Is the How to Rent guide that must be provided when a Sec 21 is being used the one that applied to the date of the original tenancy? or is it the one in force when notice of the section 21 is issued


    • Giles Peaker

      A fixed term AST become a statutory periodic tenancy at the expiry of the fixed term. This is automatic by reason of section 5 Housing Act 1988.

      There is no case law on which How to Rent guide should be provided. My view, which is not conclusive in any way, is that the Regulations and S.21B Housing Act 1988 only require that the tenant is given the then current version of the How to Rent Guide (ie the latest one at the time) prior to the service of a section 21 notice.

      The Easy Read version is not, I think, the statutory prescribed information.

  7. Alison Shaw

    It seems a bit of a grey matter, but also trying to find the correct way – It is not clear on any website (government or other) – If you were to issue a Section 21 on a tenant with a periodic tenancy, would you only have been expected to serve the initial How to Rent guide at time of first AST, or is it expected that the most recent How to Rent is served before being able to issue a Section 21?

    • Giles Peaker

      The Guide should have been given at the start of the first tenancy, then again when the tenancy became a statutory periodic, if the guide had been updated in the meantime.

      But as long as the current guide is provided before a section 21 notice is served, that should make the notice valid.

      • Alison Shaw

        Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

      • Jay

        Where the guide or an updated/latest guide should be provided before S21, how much before? Can it be done minutes before?

        • Giles Peaker

          Yes, though obviously not a good idea.

  8. witstert

    In March 2016, my appeal against a Judgment was turned into a S21 eviction as a result of an agreement between the Judge/whatever and the Applicant’s Barrister, without my being present and no sign of a Gas Safety Certificate having, in 15+years of occupancy, being presented. By the way, the original “landlord” (and Applicant) had passed ownership to his Daughter prior to making the Application to the Court (Watford County)

    • Giles Peaker

      If the current tenancy predated October 2015, then not providing a GSC doesn’t invalidate a s.21 notice.

  9. Chris Daniel

    Yet another legislative Dogs dinner created by parliamentarians – daftsmen ( pun intended ) that only serves to complicate matters and disadvantage those seeking to use the ever complicating law to regain possession of their own property.

  10. witstert

    Hi Giles,
    Thanks for the clarification. Perhaps I did not make it clear? I was not given an S21 notice, per se. It was decided between the Applicant’s Barrister and the “Judge” before I arrived at the hearing, that as I was appealing the notice to grant access to the landlord or her/his representative, at the Appeal hearing that the Applicant would apply for an eviction order under S21. That was not expected by me and, not being aware of S21, was completely unprepared for it. “Amazed”, “Stunned” and surprised are 3 words that pop into mind. The previous November I had visited the Land Registry in Croydon and was told that the Landlord (as I thought of him) had passed ownership to his Daughter (if I remember correctly, resident in a £1.5 million house in Tring). Long before this matter arose. Therefore, to my thinking, the Applicant was not the owner of the property and could not legitimately make any Application relating to the property. Would that be “misleading” the Court and/or Perjury? Perhaps, “Perversion of the Course of Justice”? The tenancy commenced July 2001.

    • Giles Peaker

      I’m afraid that I can’t make much sense of this, but in any event, we don’t advise on individual cases.


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