New rent guide crucial for landlords and tenants

5th January 2021

New rent guide crucial for landlords and tenants

Higgs & Sons Associate Daniel Greatrix closely examines the new How To Rent guide and the impact on landlords and tenants.

The obligations of landlords and tenants in the private rented sector have undergone some notable changes with the production of a new ‘How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England’ guide.

The publication is an official government document outlining the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and the changes implemented on December 10 represent the first official update to the guide for around 18 months.

A number of adjustments have been implemented, some of which are a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amongst the most significant changes have been the introduction of the electrical safety regulations, requiring landlords to have the electrical installations in their properties tested and inspected at least every five years by a person who is qualified and competent.

The guide also details the impact of the end of the transition period in the Tenant Fees Act 2019 – restricting the deposit and other permitted fees to be paid by tenants – and the changes to possession proceedings in response to coronavirus, extending the notice period given to tenants by landlords.

Arguably the most important element for landlords and agents to remember is that all assured shorthold tenants who began their agreement on or after October 1, 2015 must be given a copy of the guide, whether it is a new tenancy or a renewal.

A failure to do so could mean potential issues if a landlord or agent aims to produce a valid Section 21 – effectively an eviction notice – to regain possession of the property.

In short, if a landlord or agent is set to serve a Section 21 notice, it must ensure their tenant has the most up to date ‘How to Rent’ guide before doing so, whether that be a hard copy or provided via e-mail (where there is appropriate consent).

With coronavirus and Brexit dominating the headlines, in many ways the changes to the How To Rent guide has slipped under the radar - but the update is a significant development for landlords, agents or tenants.

Should you wish to review your compliance with any aspects of landlords, agents or tenants in Assured Shorthold Tenancies, please do not hesitate to contact Daniel Greatrix via e-mail at


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