How to Rent a property Guide

Introduction

One of the very first steps you must take before renting out a residence whether on short-term rent or long-term in the UK is to serve the tenant with a copy of the most recent How to Rent Guide, a booklet published by the government that provides a checklist for tenants when renting, including the mode of the rent payment that is, weekly or monthly rent.

The Guide from the UK government offers a checklist and more complete details on each step of the procedure, such as

  • The things to watch out for while renting a house
  • What occurs when a lease expires
  • What to do if something goes wrong

In the UK, it is a requirement of the law that landlords and leasing agents give prospective renters a current copy of the government’s How to rent guide at the start of a tenancy. This how-to-rent guide is intended for those who are about to rent a home or apartment.

If you live in a shared home, most of it will still apply to you equally, but in some circumstances, your rights and obligations will change. The advice does not apply to license holders, lodgers, or tenants whose primary or only residence is not the rental property.

Additionally, landlords must offer a fresh copy at the beginning of any subsequent tenancy to the tenants and rent guarantors, including statutory periodic tenancies. But, only if the booklet has been updated. The how-to rent guide is regularly updated and the UK government website does not keep older versions of the booklet on its site.

What do landlords need to know about the how-to rent guide?

You are considered a landlord when you own residential real estate for rent or lease, acquire an apartment complex, or rent out your own house. Having several properties in your portfolio can be profitable if you have satisfied tenants and take the required precautions to manage your properties.

You must provide the most recent How to Rent guide to new renters when they move into your rental. You can send them a PDF version via email or print it and send it via mail. Nonetheless, you must print it off and present it to the tenant if they request a hard copy.

Landlords frequently need renters to sign a form acknowledging receipt of the guidance so that it can be documented in writing. Additionally, you must ensure that you are disseminating the most recent version of the how-to rent guide by checking frequently.

tenants moving in with boxes and plants

Renters occupy the majority of homes in the UK. Even though all investments have some risk, rental property is one of the most reliable asset classes to have in your portfolio. Getting a second property is definitely worth it as a long-term investment due to consistent cash flow from tenants, real estate appreciation, and tax advantages.

This how-to-rent guide contains advice to assist you at every stage of renting, from setting up your rental property to executing a lease. Including under what circumstances you can sue your landlord or take them to court.

Does A Landlord Have to Provide A How to Rent Guide?

The ‘How to Rent guide’s updated version declares that:

“The checklist for renting in England must be sent to you by the landlord, either in printed form or, if you agree, as a PDF attachment sent through email.”

Therefore, It is mandatory that you always give tenants a paper copy of the ‘How to Rent guide’ unless you have received their explicit consent to send it to them through email as a PDF attachment. This is done after there is a right to rent check done to make sure the tenant has the right to live in the property of course.

To put it in other words, simply delivering a website link to the “How to Rent guide” is not enough. Previous Government guidelines stated that the ‘How to Rent guide’ may instead be delivered through an internet link, even though the Deregulation Act 2015 has always required landlords to provide it as a printed copy or, if accepted by email, as a PDF attachment.

We are aware that tenant attorneys are currently attempting to use this as a kind of defence against actions taken as a result of a Section 21 notice. If you have ever sent a copy of the updated ‘How to Rent guide’ via a website link, you should send a printed version right away so that you don’t incur this risk. 

Even if it isn’t a new or replacement lease, you don’t want any of these allegations and your Section 21 notice to be considered invalid.

Should you send updated materials to all the tenants?

To avoid any disputes, you might want to send an updated physical copy of the “How to Rent guide” to all of your tenants if you have any doubts about whether you have provided the correct edition or format.

When did the how-to rent guide start?

Following the new Section 21 Legislation for Landlords in the UK, the government published the How to Rent Guide in October 2015.

If you want to serve a legitimate Section 21 Notice, you must show that the landlord has served the prospective tenant with the property’s EPC and a Gas Safety Certificate (if necessary), in addition to following the instructions in this article (possession notice). Therefore, it’s crucial that you get this done properly.

The title on the front cover has changed from: “HOW TO…RENT A manual for existing and future renters in England’s private rented sector”, to: “HOW TO…RENT The English rental checklist”

What Are The New Rules for Landlords?

In 2023, new landlord regulations and announcements are anticipated. What other property-related news should owners and investors anticipate this year? Tax reforms, licencing for short-term Scottish lets, and modified restrictions for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are confirmed.

tenant and landlord reviewing contract

With the release of a government white paper, efforts to create a fairer private rental sector in the UK advanced. It allows tenants to have an easier protest regarding unfair treatment and exorbitant rent increases.

So no matter if you are leasing normally or you have a rent to rent business, the guide will still be needed.

Additionally, they would be spared the expense of having to move around from one rental property to another, and it would be against the law for landlords or agents to prohibit the rental of properties to families with children or anyone receiving government assistance.

In addition, Mr Griffin, who represents the Midlands on the Propertymark Board and the NAEA Board, said: “With more renters than properties available, the private rental sector is already severely strained. More landlords are deciding to sell their rental properties, which has led to an increase in demand.

This, according to our letting agent members, is the result of a decade’s worth of tax and regulatory load that, particularly for landlords with just one home, who account for 43% of the market, simply does not encourage investment.”

In fact, according to our most recent data, a large number of the rental properties that were sold over the previous four years are not being resold.

The chief executive and attorney for Wolverhampton-based Dhami Accommodation, Daljit Singh, stated that he would be carefully examining the consequences for the company, which has been engaged in the city’s housing rental market since 1953.

Dhami has offices in Ednam Road and is a limited company, established back in 2000, currently rents out close to 200 residential units of all sizes.

He said that since Dhami had previously used “no-fault” Section 21 evictions, which let landlords terminate tenancies without providing a reason, they might have a problem if these evictions were suddenly made illegal.

According to the government, the Fairer Private Rented Sector White Paper represents a generational change that will restore the balance between landlords and the 4.4 million privately rented properties across the UK.

The decent houses’ living standard will be extended to the private sector, which requires that homes be free from major health and safety concerns and that landlords maintain their properties in excellent repair so that tenants have access to hygienic, suitable, and usable facilities.

What is the How to Rent guide?

The handbook is an effort on the part of the government to enlighten and educate both tenants and landlords by highlighting tenants’ rights, which should aid the sector as it works to eradicate unethical behaviour.

Landlords and agents should make sure that their letting documentation (application form) includes a statement to this effect, which the tenant agrees to.

This will make it easier for the tenant(s) to receive the guide and the other supporting documents by email, provided they have agreed to accept documents and correspondence in this way. Any email correspondence should include an acknowledgement of receipt request.

For more details, click here.

Current and potential tenants can get guidance on the rental procedure in England and Wales in the government’s online How to Rent guide and get information on what happens I they fall into rent arrears and the rules around renting in the private rented sector.

keys being held

It explains their legal rights and obligations as tenants as well as the duties of landlords. Landlords or agents won’t be able to apply the no-fault Section 21 eviction procedure if these documents are not provided as required.

The ‘How to Rent’ Guide has been revised to incorporate information on Right to Rent for the tenants’ benefit in light of the implementation of ‘Right-to-Rent’ checks as of February 1st, 2016.

It’s a good practice to provide these documents to renters at the beginning of each tenancy to ensure that you are providing the most recent and up-to-date information at the time the new tenancy begins, but the law only requires service before serving a 21-day notice.

The most recent edition of the How to Rent Guide is available here.

What Version of The How to Rent Guide Do I Need to Give My Tenants?

In July 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government released the most recent edition of the How to Rent guide. This is the version that is to be handed over to the tenants.

Can I Email A Copy of The How to Rent Guide to My Tenant?

The landlord must provide the most recent How to Rent guide to new renters when they move into their property. They can send them a PDF version link via email. However, as said also above in this document, they must print it off and present it to the tenant if they request a hard copy.

Landlords frequently need renters to sign a form acknowledging receipt of the guidance so that it can be documented in writing. Additionally, they must ensure that they are disseminating the most recent version of the how to rent guide by checking every time they have to hand over one.

What Happens If I Don’t Issue The How to Rent Guide?

You might get into a lot of trouble if you don’t distribute the latest version of the How to Rent brochure. If you haven’t given your renter the How to Rent guide, you won’t be able to reclaim your property with a Section 21 notice under the Section 21 Legislation for Landlords in the UK.

At the start of every new lease, landlords should provide their tenants with the most recent edition of the How to Rent guide to help them prevent any potential issues. Ask your tenant to sign a release form attesting that they have received the most recent version as an extra measure of protection.

The landlord will be in violation of the law and unable to use some of their other rights, such as serving a section 21 notice if they fail to serve this guide to the renter. Section 21 notices, also referred to as a no-fault eviction, are frequently used by landlords who seek to retake control of their rental property for reasons that are not the tenants’ fault.

How to Rent Guide being given physically

Landlords have been said to have sustained “hefty” costs as a result of being unable to serve a section 21 notice. A landlord risks losing the opportunity to serve the valid rental checklist if they failed to submit a copy at the beginning of the tenancy. 

How Does The How to Rent Guide Benefit Landlords?

You could feel as though the How to Rent guide is just one more piece of bureaucratic paper you’ll have to consider. But, there are certain advantages for landlords as well.

  • Assisting you in staying abreast of the most recent legislation and what you must do to stay compliant
  • Enabling you to use a Section 21 notice to maintain legal ownership of your property
  • Providing information to tenants about the rental process could enhance interactions and lower questions

    What Other Documents Do I Need to Comply with Government Guidelines?

    You and your tenant should sign a tenancy agreement prior to the tenant(s) moving in. Don’t forget to create an inventory, whether the property is furnished or unfurnished; this will make things much easier if there is a dispute at the conclusion of the rental. You ought to give your tenant:

    • A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate for the year: If there is a gas installation or appliance, the landlord must give a copy of this certificate when the tenant moves in and must give a copy of the updated certificate following each annual gas safety inspection.
    • The Energy Performance Certificate on paper (EPC): At the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord is required to give the tenant a copy of the EPC, which contains the energy performance rating of the home being rented.
    • Details about the location of their deposit: If you’ve collected a deposit, the tenant has the right to receive in 30 days a document static the deposit is in a government-approved plan. Make sure you provide your tenant with formal information, and that he/she is aware of the procedure for receiving the deposit back at the end of the lease (if, of course, nothing has been broken or damaged)
    • The Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in its entirety
    • A duplicate of the property inventory and condition report

    When Should A Rental Guide Be Issued?

    When a new tenancy or renewal begins, the how to rent guide must be supplied in its most recent version that is currently accessible. Landlords or their representatives should follow up with the tenant(s) by issuing the revised version of the initial version issued incorrectly.

    Also, be careful of the hedge cases:  it is technically a new tenancy when a fixed-term tenancy converts to a periodic tenancy after it has ended. Accordingly, if the government issues a new handbook when a tenancy converts to a periodic tenancy, the tenant should receive the most recent edition of the how to rent guide.

    Can I Serve A How to Rent Guide Late?

    No valid section 21 notice may be given if a landlord or their representative forgets to deliver the guidance as described above. However, there doesn’t seem to be a deadline for serving the guide, thus it could be feasible to serve the guide and then promptly serve the section 21 notice afterwards.

    tenants' couple happy after moving in and receiving hot to rent guide

    This is debatable and unavoidably can be contested by the tenant in court at some point in time.

    How to Rent Guide & Landlord’s Responsibilities

    If you rent a property of your own, you are a landlord. Landlords are required to

    • Keep your rented premises secure
    • Ensure that all electrical and gas equipment is installed, maintained, and operated safely. Provide an Energy Performance Certificate for the building
    • Utilize a government-approved programme to safeguard your tenant’s security deposit.
    • If your property is in the UK, be sure your tenant is authorised to rent it.
    • When tenants start to rent your property, give a copy of the How to Rent guide to your tenant

    There are numerous forms and sizes of landlord obligations. Many times, landlords incorporate a “warranty of habitability” in their obligations to their renters. Ensuring that the property is habitable, secure, and tidy.

    This ensures tenants pay their rent on time and don’t attempt to live rent free, although there are valid ways to attempt this as a tenant by reading our article on it.

    Conclusion

    The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government posted a document titled “How to rent guide: the checklist for renting in England” on the official government website. To reflect changes in the law and the housing industry, it is frequently revised.

    The how to rent guide serves as a checklist of all the important details that a new tenant needs to be aware of, prior to the beginning of their tenancy. This information also explains an assured shorthold lease, which is the standard kind of residential tenancy in England and Wales and offers tips for navigating the private renting market. At the beginning and throughout, the how to rent guide outlines the obligations of both the landlord and the tenant.

    Since the parties have three options: extension, renewal, or termination, there is often a lot of confusion regarding what will happen after the tenancy’s defined period expires. In the event that the parties take no action, the law fills the gap by establishing a statutory periodic tenancy. A brief overview of this is provided in the How to rent guide, along with suggestions on how tenants should vacate their rental home to increase their chances of receiving their entire security deposit back.

    A current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a current Gas Safety Certificate, and the most recent edition of a government publication titled “The How to Rent Guide” must be given to all new tenants as of October 1, 2015.

    There are several changes for landlords in 2022 that you should be aware of, regardless of your level of experience or whether you plan to start the new year by renting out your property.

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    donnell-bailey

    Donnell Bailey

    Property expert

    Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.

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