The government has confirmed that the latest How to Rent guide will go live on Monday, 2nd October, including details on the new Housing Loss Prevention Service.
The guide - for tenants and private landlords to help them understand their rights and responsibilities – was last updated in March and 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 was last refreshed to reflect 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.
The Housing Loss Prevention Service, which went live in early August, means that tenants facing eviction or repossession can get free early legal advice on housing, debt, and welfare benefits issues before appearing in court, as well as continuing to get advice and representation on the day of their hearing.
It replaces the Housing Possession Court Duty Service which only offers ‘on the day’ emergency advice and advocacy.
However, there are fears that it could result in more landlords fighting – and potentially losing – expensive court battles. Propertymark has warned that there needs to be an equitable system in place which is responsive, fair and progressive for all parties.
According to Propertymark, where agents or landlords have issued the existing version of the guide 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 done – preferably using a system that also shows that it has been delivered and opened.
Find the updated guide on 2nd October on the DHCLG website.