The How to Rent Guide was again updated on 17 January 2018.
The Guide was introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 and must be given to tenants on the commencement or renewal of the tenancy or when it becomes statutory periodic. It is important to ensure that the tenant is given the Guide at these specific points in the lifetime of the tenancy because failing to do so could mean that any section 21 notice served subsequently is not validly served and consequently useless.
Therefore, in light of the ramifications of any change to the Guide for landlords and agents it might be thought that the Government would elect to only make changes that are absolutely necessary or make a number of changes on any one amendment. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. The recent amendment was to remove references to the London Mayor’s London Rental Standard which was abandoned by the Mayor in April 2017. We had hoped that there would be other amendments such as mention of the introduction of the Rogue landlords’ and agents’ database, banning orders and Homelessness Reduction Act. However, these have not been identified which does mean that the Guide will no doubt be amended once again, possibly as soon as April this year. It is therefore vital to ensure that both landlords and agents are on top of these changes and aware of any such amendments when they are released. A good starting place to ensure that you are using the correct version of the guide is the government website which can be accessed here.
At the bottom of the Government page is a section which identifies each update and what has changed which is useful for tracking whether you are using the correct version.
There is no immediate rush to hand this version of the Guide to all known tenants however, it is vital that on all new, renewed and periodic tenancies it is given when the commencement date of any such tenancy is 17 January 2018 and beyond.