On 24 March 2023, the Government introduced the latest How to Rent Guide. This is the 11th guide introduced by Government since the enactment of the Deregulation Act 2015 and it provides useful guidance for tenants on how to rent a property in England.
This includes guidance on the following:
- What are the permitted fees that can be charged by the landlord.
- Checking if the deposit exceeds the deposit cap in breach of the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
- Checking if the landlord has complied with any licensing requirements (i.e. HMO or selective license)
- How the landlord can recover possession of the property and end the tenancy, and the tenants’ rights’ to stay in the property.
If the landlord wishes to serve a Section 21 notice to seek the termination of an assured shorthold tenancy, the How to Rent Guide is one of the key documents that must be served on the tenant before serving the notice (in most cases). Importantly, where the tenancy commenced after 1st October 2015, the latest version of the How to Rent Guide should be served on the tenant at the start of tenancy commencing and any renewal tenancy (including statutory periodic tenancy) commencing. Failure to provide the latest How to Rent Guide could mean that the Section 21 notice served is invalid which may cause delays and additional costs.
Since the Government are planning to scrap Section 21 ‘no fault’ notices in the future, it will be interesting to see whether there is still a requirement to serve a How to Rent Guide before serving the possession notice. Once more information is provided by Government regarding the Renters’ Reform Bill, we will provide a further update.
In the meantime, if you need any assistance serving a Section 21 notice on a tenant, please do not hesitate to contact Woodstock Legal Services.