The UK government has published the latest version of their ‘How to Rent’ guide, outlining the responsibilities of landlords and tenants in 2023.
Agents and landlords must provide tenants with the new version of the guide when they start or renew a tenancy. If not, they may struggle to take possession of their property if needed.
What is the ‘How to Rent’ guide?
The ‘How to Rent’ guide is published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government in combination.
The guide outlines the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants in the private rented sector (PRS). It outlines how to safely and legally begin a tenancy, as well as what landlords and tenants must do to comply with UK law.
The UK government publishes an updated version of the guide every six months, with the most recent version released at the beginning of last week.
Landlords and agents must now provide their tenants with this most recent version at the beginning of a new tenancy, or when existing tenants renew their contract or switch to a monthly-rolling tenancy. If they fail to do so, property owners may be unable to arrange a legal eviction under Section 21.
What’s changed since the last ‘How to Rent’ guide?
The biggest change since April 2023 is the replacement of the existing Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) with the new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS).
HPCDS assistance was only available to tenants on the day of their court hearing. Under the HLPAS, tenants will be able to seek legal support when they are first facing eviction, which will be available free of charge via legal aid services.
More changes for landlords and tenants
The changes to the ‘How to Rent’ guide may not be the only legislation landlords need to adjust to by the end of the year. Despite continuing delays, Housing Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he expects to go ahead with ending ‘no-fault’ Section 21 evictions as part of the Renters’ Reform Bill.
Despite opposition from fellow MPs who own property and the PRS more broadly, Hunt continues to make assurances that the Bill will receive it’s second parliamentary reading ‘this autumn’.
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