Landlord responsibilities - providing tenants with the "How To Rent" Guide
28th May 2019
As a result of the 2015 Legislation for Landlords update, all landlords now have to supply their tenants with a government issued renting guide entitled "How to Rent". Legally, they also need to ensure that they can prove that their tenants have seen this leaflet, which can be done in one of two ways:
- Emailing a PDF copy of the booklet to an email address supplied by the new tenant(s).
- Issuing a hard copy of the booklet and obtaining a written signature to prove you gave them the information.
Why the 'how to rent' booklet is important for both landlords and tenants
There are a whole handful of documents that a landlord needs to make sure are available to tenants at the outset of a tenancy, such as the Gas Safety Certificate and a valid Energy Performance Certificate. The how to rent checklist is just another one in that batch, but unlike some of the others, this is a document that can benefit landlords as much as tenants, because the Section 21 notice that a landlord might want to serve a tenant (the notice of intention to take possession of a property) can only be served when the “How to Rent” leaflet has been given to the tenant.
This is a vitally important requirement - at DEU Estates we've seen all kinds of reasons that a landlord needs to take possession of a property including:
- needing the property to live in themselves
- moving away and being unable to manage it effectively from the new location (although if this is your situation, why not call DEU Estates and explore how our management services can provide you with a sustainable income even if you can’t be a hands-on landlord?)
- wanting to sell the property to finance some other investment.
Without evidence that a Section 21 notice can be served (eg that the landlord has met his requirements to provide prescribed information under an assured shorthold tenancy), then a landlord’s only recourse is to try and obtain possession under a Section 8 notice, which can only be served when a tenant has breached their contract and therefore the landlord has grounds for possession.
"How to Rent" updates, and how to handle them
If a renewed tenancy is in operation (where new contracts have been signed with the original tenants), there is no need to provide a new copy of the leaflet. However it isn’t clear if a new copy should be presented if an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) becomes a periodic tenancy, so legally it would seem sensible to reissue the leaflet anyway, just to be safe.
Whenever the "How to Rent" leaflet is updated, the landlord is obligated to serve the new version to all tenants, regardless if they are AST, renewed orperiodic. The only way to do this is to regularly check the government website to see if there have been any changes to the leaflet, or to other requirements under the 1988 Housing Act. Alternatively, working with effective Property Agents like DEU Estates means that we do all the administration to ensure your responsibilities as a landlord are met simply, easily and cost-effectively. Call us today on 0113 275 1010, to find out how we make life better for landlords, every day.