The new How to Rent guide – due to come out today (17th March) – has been delayed for a week, according to industry sources.
The new guide forms part of the prescribed information that landlords in England must issue at the start of any new tenancy or renewal, and if they don’t, they lose the right to repossess using Section 21. It is unclear why the launch has been put on hold until next Friday (24th March).
But landlords and agents will now have to be careful which How to Rent guide they issue depending on when a tenancy starts, to prevent problems further down the line.
Last updated in December 2020, it is being refreshed again to reflect some recent legal changes including the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms to be fitted in every room with a fixed fuel burning appliance, and that an electrical installation condition report must be provided to tenants.
It also contains information on fitting smart meters and there is a section in the guide on ensuring the property is suitable for tenants with a disability.
According to Propertymark, where agents or landlords have issued the existing version in advance of the tenancy start date, they should follow up by issuing the new version as soon as it becomes available, keeping evidence that this has been issued - preferably using a system that also shows that it has been delivered and opened.
Rules were brought in eight years ago making it mandatory for landlords to provide the latest version to their tenants when the first tenancy starts, and on renewal if there has been an update to the contents of the guide.
The government says new versions of the How to Rent and How to Let guides will be available on the gov.uk website, while the NRLA has promised to update its resource centre with links to the new guides.
Landlord and agents should keep an eye on the official website.