How to Rent guide updated by MHCLG

by Property118.com News Team

12:04 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

How to Rent guide updated by MHCLG

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How to Rent guide updated by MHCLG

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has today (10/12/2020) updated the How to Rent guide: Click here to download.

The statutory requirement is for a tenant to be provided with the version of the guide current at the time of the new tenancy and failure to serve the most up to date guide invalidates any future Section 21 action. A statutory periodic tenancy is also considered a new tenancy so an updated copy must be served after the fixed term before you can issue a Section 21.

The previous update of the How to Rent guide was sneaked out on the 7th August 2019.

The guide can be served as a hard copy or with the consent of the tenant emailed as a PDF.

“This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:

  • what to look out for before renting
  • living in a rented home
  • what happens at the end of a tenancy
  • what to do if things go wrong”

Comments

Gunga Din

12:17 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

At least this time they've actually changed the date of issue at the bottom of page 2. I could swear I was downloading them recently from .gov and they still showed May 2019.

Prakash Tanna

12:50 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

I'm yet to come across a tenant yet who actually reads this document or ever asks any questions about it. That said, I do think it contains useful information in it (having just read it myself aha). To ensure I comply, I always give them 10mins at least to read it and then sign a document to confirm they have done so before signing the AST !!

Rbinscotland

12:59 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Sorry....Maybe a stupid question. Ive not read it so me bad. BUT is this for the whole of the UK, or do I use in Scotland under the UK banner.

Darren Peters

13:07 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Fwiw I send an e-mail to the prospective tenant with a bunch of documents as PDF (Gassafe, Elec, this, EPC,...) and ask the tenant to reply confirming they have received and read.

Prakash Tanna

13:21 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Darren Peters at 10/12/2020 - 13:07
... Interestingly on Page 10 it states:
"A copy of this guide ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ when a new tenancy starts as a
printed copy or, if you agree, via email as a PDF attachment."
Does that mean we have to ask their consent before providing it electronically v's a paper copy?
An acknowledgement from the tenant by email could be taken as implied consent i suppose!

Gunga Din

13:24 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

There's a clause in the AST I use (RNLA's) which allows the tenant to allow or disallow emailed PDFs of required docs. I ask them to sign a paper form saying they acknowledge receipt of the list of required docs.

David Price

13:32 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Another gotya from MHCLG. I wonder how many landlords will be caught out for using the wrong version?

Beaver

15:53 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

The online advice says:

The landlord *must* provide a copy of the guide, a gas safety, certificate, deposit paperwork, the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

The landlord *should* provide a record of any electrical inspections, Under the Electrical Safety Standards, in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) England Regulations 2020.....property electrics checked at least every five years by a properly qualified person....landlord must give you proof of this."

The further guidance says about the introduction of the new regulations: "...They will do this whilst not placing excessive burdens on electrical testers and inspectors, landlords, letting agents and local authorities....Landlords already have to keep the electrical installations in their rented properties safe and in working order. Most landlords already do this.......Under these Regulations, landlords must now get the electrical installation checked at least every 5 years by a properly qualified person. The electrical installation must be safe and your landlord must give you proof of this."

I'm not sure from this online guidance about what really are the "shoulds" and what are the "musts".

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-tenants-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

I don't think this guidance is very clear either for tenants or for landlords. And the absence of clarity is frustrating given that the online advice acknowledges "Landlords already have to keep the electrical installations in their rented properties safe and in working order. Most landlords already do this."

I can't help but feel that the PRS has been held to a higher standard than the social housing sector but it's still not really clear what that standard is.

Steve Masters

17:09 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Am I right in thinking that where the tenancy agreement contains a clause to the effect that the tenancy continues after the initial fixed term, this then does not create a new tenancy, the original tenancy continues as a Contractual Periodic Tenancy and in this circumstance a new copy of the How to Rent guide need not be served?

David

17:35 PM, 10th December 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Steve Masters at 10/12/2020 - 17:09
Yes, thats correct. If you have a contractual periodic tenancy, then you serve it once on the tenant at the start of the tenancy and if it changes afterwards you don't have to re-serve. If its a regular fixed term with no continuation, then you would need to serve the latest version when the tenancy becomes statutory periodic.

You do also need to get the tenants wet signature on something in advance that they are content to received this and other prescribed documents by email.

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