CHECKLIST ON HOW TO RENT IN ENGLAND
when renting or finding or new place to live can make you feel a bit unease about the whole thing .many people move for all types of reasons from needing more space or job related matters or even siblings wanting to flee the nest and become self independent’ and that means finding a new place to live.
pocket monster has put together some information to get you started on finding that place of your own !
The UK rental market has grown significantly over the past few years.
Though once reserved only for students or those unable to purchase, renting has become an increasingly attractive alternative to buying by providing a number of unique benefits such as:
- Flexibility – when you rent you agree to stay in a property for a fixed length, usually 12 months, meaning that you are free to move elsewhere should you want to
- Cost – because you do not own the property you are not liable for property maintenance costs or replacing expensive items such as boilers
So what do you need to KNOW ?
Landlords in England (yes, just England) should serve a copy of the booklet to tenants’ at the beginning of new tenancies that start on or after October 2015.
You can download the latest copy from here from the Gov website.
The new Section 21 legislation can be read here,
“How to rent guide”:
Requirement for landlord to provide prescribed information
- (1) A landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England, or a person acting on behalf of such a landlord, must give the tenant under that tenancy the information mentioned in paragraph (2).
- (2) The information is the version of the document entitled “How to rent: the checklist for
renting in England”, as published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, that
has effect for the time being.
- (3) The information may be provided to the tenant—
- (a) in hard copy; or
- (b) where the tenant has notified the landlord, or a person acting on behalf of the landlord, of
an e-mail address at which the tenant is content to accept service of notices and other
documents given under or in connection with the tenancy, by e-mail.
- (4) Paragraph (1) does not require a landlord, or person acting on behalf of the landlord, who has
provided the tenant with the document mentioned in paragraph (2) to supply a further copy of the
document each time a different version of that document is published during the tenancy.
- (5) This regulation does not apply—
- (a) where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing; or
- (b) where—
- (i) the tenancy (“the new tenancy”) is a replacement tenancy;
- (ii) the landlord, or a person acting on behalf of the landlord, provided the tenant with the document mentioned in paragraph (2) under an earlier tenancy; and
- (iii) the version of the document provided to the tenant under the earlier tenancy is the same version as the version which is in effect on the first day of the new tenancy.
- (6) In this regulation “replacement tenancy” has the same meaning as in section 21(7) of the Act.
In simple/normal/human terms…
- Serve – you can serve a hardcopy (printed version) or email a digital version where the tenant has supplied an email address. The booklet should be served at the start of the tenancy.
- Up-to-date – the booklet is likely to get updated over time, so it is important to serve the most up-to-date version available at the time of the start of the tenancy. You don’t need to keep providing a copy when new versions are released.
- New tenancies – if a tenancy is renewed (e.g. new contracts signed with the same tenants) there is no need to serve a new copy of the booklet unless a new version has been released- that’s something you’ll need to check at the relevant time.I’m not sure if a new copy needs to be served if the tenancy rolls into a periodic tenancy (the legislation doesn’t clarify from what I can tell)- does that count as a “new tenancy” (technically, it is)?It might be worth serving a new copy if the tenancy rolls into a periodic tenancy and a new version is released, just to be diligent.
What if I don’t provide a copy?
From what I’m aware, serving the guide isn’t a legal requirement, so you won’t get prosecuted for not doing it (at the moment, although I can’t imagine it will ever get that serious). However, as said, it is part of the new Section 21 regulations, which means you won’t be able to repossess your property with a Section 21 notice without providing your tenant with the booklet. That’s serious shit which should not be taken lightly.
Being disqualified from serving a valid section 21 is going to make it extremely difficult (I’d say near impossible, actually) for landlords to efficiently repossess their property, unless the tenant is willing to surrender the tenancy without any fuss, or if the tenant breaches specific terms of the tenancy (e.g. falls into 2 months’ arrears), which will then allow the landlord to go down the Section 8 route and evict with grounds for possession (that’s really the last route you want to go down).
In short, it’s just better to serve the damn booklet at the beginning of the tenancy and follow all the other section 21 requirements, despite how oh-so pointless some of the requirements may seem.
Rent Guide Release Form
In light of the introduction to the changes to the Section 21 legislation for Landlords in England, it is imperative landlords provide new tenants (and tenants that renew) an up-to-date version of the booklet.
In order to protect myself, I make my tenants sign a release form, which confirms that they have been provided with an up-to-date version. You can download a copy by entering your name and email address below.
It has been argued that sending a copy by email leaves behind a digital footprint in the sentbox/outbox, but I prefer sending a hardcopy of the booklet and getting a signature conformation. That’s just how I roll.
If a landlord gives a new tenancy or a replacement tenancy from October 1st 2015 onwards, they need to comply with the prescribed information requirements for the new Section 21 form. As part of this landlords must provide an up to date version of the How to rent: The checklist for renting in England booklet at the outset of the original tenancy. Landlords are also required to provide a new copy at the outset of any subsequent tenancy, including statutory periodic tenancies, but only if there has been an update to the booklet. If they do not then no valid Section 21 can be served.
To assist landlords with this requirement this page will archive all the different versions of How to rent: The checklist for renting in England as well as the dates when they stopped being the most recent version. At the start of any new tenancy landlords should check this page against their current copy to make sure they are still up to date. If not a new copy should be downloaded and provided to the tenant at the start of their renewal.
If you wish to email this document to your tenants you can do so if you have permission. Landlords using our Tenancy Application Form will see that the tenants sign to give consent to service of this document and the EPC via email.