How to Rent Guide – 2017 Download for Landlords

Updated: August 18, 2017

Ok, so you’re renting out a house for the first time, you’ve had lots of promising enquiries from prospective tenants just desperate for you to hand over the keys. But did you know that one of the very first actions you must take, if you are a landlord in England, is to hand over a copy of the How to Rent guide, issued by the Government detailing a checklist for renting?

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

Landlords must issue the How to Rent guide prior to the start of any tenancy.

Email or hard copy of the How to Rent guide?

Although lots of people still like to receive a good old-fashioned printed copy, 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.

Download your 2017 How to Rent guide here: https://www.gov.uk/guide

Unfortunately, the Department for Communities and Local Government itself won’t be publishing the 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?

In fact, it could land you in a whole lot of trouble if you don’t. 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 booklet 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.

Use the How to Rent guide as a landlord’s checklist

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.

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 and important reminders for private landlords renting out flats, apartments and houses to rent in the UK.
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LettingaProperty.com
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