The How to Rent: A Checklist for Renting in England booklet was updated at the end of May, to reflect the changes in the law brought about by the tenant fees ban.
The booklet makes specific reference to the new deposit caps and the fact that fees are now by and large prohibited, and so tenants will certainly be made aware of the latest changes.
There is also the fact that in some situations landlords and agents may be required to update their tenants with the newest how to rent booklet. The landlord advice team this week took a number of calls relating to this situation.
The obligation for serving the how to rent booklet, in respect of successfully serving a section 21 notice, is to have served the most up to date copy at the outset of the original tenancy. This then extends to providing a new copy on any subsequent tenancy where there has been an update to the booklet, and this includes statutory periodic tenancies.
Our member contacted us upon noticing the how to rent booklet update had been uploaded onto our website, and wondered if they were required to now give this to their tenant.
We checked if our member uses the RLA tenancy agreement, which they do, and as this tenancy was signed earlier this year using our up to date agreement at the time, it will become a contractual periodic tenancy. Once the tenancy becomes periodic, there will be no necessity to provide the new booklet.C
If the tenancy is renewed for a new fixed term, our member should check the how to rent page on our website or the government’s own site and make sure that they download the most up to date booklet, and serve that document at such a time.
The new version of the How to Rent guide must be given for any tenancy that was executed on or after 31 May and must also be given for any tenancy that becomes statutory periodic or is renewed after that date. The RLA’s tenancy agreements are contractual periodic. See below for the difference between Statutory periodic vs contractual periodic tenancies.
Some of our members choose to supply their tenants with the updated booklet regardless of there being a new tenancy, so that their tenants always have the latest information as it is released. There is no negative side to doing this, but there is also no obligation on the landlord to do so either.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Team Manager, said “The government can choose to update the how to rent booklet at any time with little announcement. This can be troublesome for landlords if they are not aware of the changes, so we make sure that both our advisors and our website are always up to date to reflect any changes that our members need to be aware of.”
Learn more about the How to Rent guide update
Our policy director David Smith has written a blog about the recent update to the How to Rent guide and what the implications are.
Statutory vs Contractual periodic tenancies
A contractual periodic tenancy exists when both landlord and tenant agree in contract that the tenancy will become a periodic tenancy, as opposed to allowing it to naturally roll into one without any mention of it.
If the tenancy agreement remains silent on what happens after the fixed term ends and the tenant remains in occupation, a statutory periodic tenancy will arise [section 5 Housing Act 1988]