How to Rent Guide – 2017 Download for Landlords

Updated: October 19, 2017

Serving the tenant with a copy of the How to Rent Guide, a booklet which is issued by Government detailing a checklist for tenants when renting, is one of the very first actions you must take before renting out a house in England.

Brick wall with sign reading how to rent guide - The checklist for renting in England.

Landlords must serve the How to Rent guide prior to the start of any tenancy. You can download the 2017 booklet in PDF format and email it to the tenant.

Download the How to Rent Guide (2017 PDF Booklet) and Landlord Checklist here – https://www.gov.uk/guide

The latest version of the How to rent guide was issued by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on 1 February 2016.

Can I email a copy of the How to Rent Guide to the Tenant?

Although lots of people still like to receive a good old-fashioned printed copy of the How to Rent booklet, for those who have fully embraced new technology then it is probably easier for you to email them a digital version of the How to Rent guide, that’s if the tenant has supplied you with an email address.   It’s probably best viewed online, anyway, as it contains hyperlinks.

Unfortunately, the Department for Communities and Local Government itself won’t be publishing the How to Rent booklet in ‘hard copy’ so if a tenant asks for the guide in this format you will have to print it out yourself.

I know you’ve got a mountain of paperwork to deal with anyway, supplying tenants with necessary items such as a written tenancy agreement, gas safety certificate (if there’s a gas installation, of course), an energy performance certificate and a record of any electrical inspections and securing protection in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme in respect of any deposits made by tenants, but don’t under-estimate the importance of issuing that little How to Rent guide.

What happens if I don’t issue the How to Rent guide?

If you don’t issue the 2017 How to Rent booklet, it could land you in a whole lot of trouble. Not that you could end up in jail – but under the new Section 21 Legislation for Landlords in England, which came into effect almost two years ago, you won’t be able to repossess your property (heaven forbid it should get to that stage) with a Section 21 notice without providing your tenant with the booklet.

Man in a suit behind bars insinuating he is in jail.

Don’t worry, you won’t end up in jail if you don’t issue the How to Rent guide!

So head off any potential trouble by just issuing the How to Rent guide for tenants at the beginning of any new tenancy. And as another safeguard ask the tenant to sign a release form, confirming that they have been provided with an up-to-date version. Up-dates will abound in the future I am sure but one good thing is that you are not required to supply a further copy of the document each time a new version is published during the tenancy.

The How to Rent guide makes a pretty good landlords’ checklist too!

We all know that when renting out a property, the requirement for landlords to provide prescribed information and associated legal documents, can often be a complicated affair.  So much so that some pundits believe there is a strong case for simplification by either consolidating housing legislation now or by undertaking a review of the Law Commission’s 2006 Report.

Who knows what might happen in the future, but the point about the here-and-now is to make sure before you start letting your property – whether it is a house, apartment or bedsit – that everything is in order. That includes making sure the building is insured with adequate landlords insurance and that the structure and exterior of the property is maintained, while also ensuring that items such as smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms (in rooms using solid fuels) are fitted.

See also: When is the best time of year to let a property?

And while the tenant may probably want to know whether you belong to an accreditation scheme, equally you will want the tenant to confirm his identity and immigration status (through Right to Rent checks) credit history and employment status via a comprehensive tenant referencing check.

Make sure the tenant knows who is responsible for bills such as gas, water, electricity and council tax and that they understand how long the tenancy is for. Some people may want the security of a really long let so make sure that this is agreed at the outset as well.

In any case, the tenancy agreement should say how much notice must be given if you want to end the agreement. Landlords have a legal requirement to give a tenant proper notice – and vice-versa. One month’s notice is typical if a tenant signals he wants to move on.

Apart from the How to Rent Guide, what other documents do I need?

Once the tenant moves in, however, he (or she) will want a written tenancy agreement, so make sure you can provide one. Regardless of whether the property is furnished or unfurnished, don’t forget to produce an inventory as well – this will make the situation a lot easier if there is any dispute at the end of the tenancy. And it’s probably as well to take photographs of any items you may want to record in particular – how easy is that with today’s digital cameras or smart phones?

Leonard Rossiter’s miserly Rigsby in the 70s TV sit-com Rising Damp

Remember, you must give at least 24 hours notice before entering your tenant’s home!

Thankfully, we don’t know of any landlords today who are like Leonard Rossiter’s miserly Rigsby in the 70s TV sit-com Rising Damp but it goes practically without saying that you must impress upon the tenant that they must pay the rent on time. Point out that failure to do so could cost them their accommodation – and let them know that lodgers or sub-letting (Rent to Rent) are not allowed unless you give express permission.

And unlike Rigsby you won’t be able to walk into your tenant’s accommodation just whenever you want. So give at least 24 hours notice of a visit if you want to check on things like repairs.

From the outset, let them know where you stand on children, smoking, pets – and even things such as keeping a bike! After all, one man’s recreational pursuit can be another man’s torture!

But if you want further advice on anything to do with renting a property, tenancy agreements or how to find tenants fast, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Legislation can be a minefield, particularly if you are becoming a landlord for the first time.

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How to Rent Guide – 2017 Download
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How to Rent Guide – 2017 Download
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How to Rent Guide 2017 Download & Updated PDF Booklet for Private Landlords Renting Out Flats & Houses in England. Plus Landlord Checklist.
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LettingaProperty.com
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2 Comments

  1. Joanmlouis September 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

    Hello. I have a problem. I gave my tenant a Contract,, gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate. I didn’t know about how to rent booklet. when he moved in last dec.
    Since moving in he has only paid three month rent. He now owes 5 months which amount to £2300. After 4 months I served him with a section 8. He has broken every part of the contract including keeping two dogs on the premises which is an upstairs flat. He has changed the locks. His dogs are urinating over the balcony onto the tenants below. The council have told me to stop him. He wont talk to me.
    He told me earlier that he didn’t read the contract. Who does?
    When the section 8 date was up, he asked for two more months and promised to be out for the 1st of August. He signed a mini contract promising to vacate. Of coarse he didn’t.
    I have to go to court next week.The judge has only given 10 mins for the hearing.
    Does yhis mean I have to start over again. Will he take any of this into account.




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    • Jonathan Daines October 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Joanmlouis and I’m sorry to hear of the issues you’ve experienced with your tenant. It’s been a while since you posted your comment and I was wondering what was the outcome of your court appearance? Did the judge see in your favour despite not having served the How to Rent guide to the tenant?




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