Watch Out for Sneaky Rent Guide Updates, Warns Lawyer

Landlords could be stopped from going ahead with a no-reason eviction because the government is failing to tell them when the How to Rent Guide they must give tenants is updated. 

Housing law demands landlords supply the latest copy of the How To Rent Guide at the start of a tenancy. 

If they don’t provide the Guide, the landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave with a Section 21 no reason eviction. 

But lawyers have spotted that the government is making changes to the Guide without logging the amendments on the website, so no one knows which version of the document is the latest. 

The website had said the last amendment was on May 31, 2019, but has just been updated to say August 7 2019, so any landlord downloading a copy on that date to give to a tenant is passing on an out-of-date document. 

The Guide is marked ‘May 2019’ but was updated on June 3 and July 29, says property lawyer Giles Peaker of Anthony Gold Solicitors. 

The first change altered a link on page 5 from ‘NALS’ to ‘SafeAgent’, while the second amended the wording on page 4 from ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for help.’ to ‘…for advice.’

“ This really should not happen. While the changes are relatively minor tweaks, they are changes nonetheless,” said Giles Peaker. 

“And as the statutory requirement is for the tenant to be provided with the version of the guide current at the time, silent changes obviously present problems – how many landlords and agents will be using the original 31 May version without knowing it has since been changed? 

“While I would imagine a court would give a certain leeway in the circumstances, should it be raised, this is not an issue that should have arisen in the first place.”

Our Tenancy Builder is continually updated with the current version of the How to Rent Guide.

View Related Handbook Page

Prescribed Information (How to Rent Guide)

Not to be confused with tenancy deposit prescribed information, for all assured shorthold tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015, including renewals, a landlord or landlord's agent must give the tenant the following information – 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.