If you are a residential landlord, you may be aware that in May 2019, the government released an updated version of their guide, How to rent: the checklist for renting in England, which is also available online.
You may not, however, be aware that two slight amendments to the guide came in under the radar on 3 June 2019 and 29 July 2019 respectively:
- The first is on page 5 in relation to letting agents’ professional bodies, and simply confirms that the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) has now rebranded as safeagent.
- The second is on page 4, where the word “help” has been replaced by “advice” in relation to contacting Shelter.
While these amendments may appear minor, if you are using a version downloaded before 29 July 2019, it will not be the most up to date edition.
The problem this creates is that since 1 October 2015, there has been a requirement to provide a copy of this guide to tenants at the outset of the tenancy. It is the responsibility of the landlord and their agent to ensure that they provide the most up to date version.
Ensure you serve all the tenants
It is important to ensure that in the case of multiple tenants that the booklet is served on all of them, not just the lead tenant. A handy tip to ensure you have proof that you have complied with this requirement is to ensure that all tenancy agreements include a provision that notices and documents may be sent by email. An email will provide you with the necessary evidence that documents have been provided.
Failure to provide the applicable checklist will be a barrier to serving a valid section 21 notice seeking possession. This in turn will delay your ability to obtain possession of your property.
Tenancies granted before 1 October 2015
If a tenancy was granted before 1 October 2015, the requirement to provide the tenant with the guide is unlikely to apply (but beware other requirements which came into force on 1 October 2018). However, residential landlord and tenant law changes constantly and it certainly will not do any harm to provide your tenant with the most recent version of the guide in any event.
Please also check out our other Top Tips for Landlords.