On 24 March 2023, the Government released its latest edition of the 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England' guide. Landlords and/or their agents in the private rented sector are required to provide the latest version of the guide to tenants at the outset of a new tenancy. The purpose of the guide is to enable both parties to understand their rights and obligations. 

Since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988, various forms of legislation and regulations have been introduced with a view to better regulating the private landlord and tenant relationship. Landlords ought to be familiar with their various requirements at the outset of new tenancies, including (but not limited to) the requirement to protect a tenancy deposit within an authorised scheme within 30 days of receipt, to provide prescribed information relating to that deposit, and to provide the tenant with an up-to-date copy of the property's EPC, Gas Safety Certificate and the 'How to Rent' guide. Indeed, these requirements are listed in full in the guide itself. 

Failure to comply with some or all of these requirements can have significant consequences, varying from financial penalties to a prohibition on the landlord being able to validly serve a 'no fault' section 21 notice requiring possession of the property. Some breaches are not remediable which would mean that landlords may only be able to rely on section 8 grounds for possession (for instance, rent arrears or some other breach of the tenancy) to recover possession of the property.  

Whilst it is possible for landlords and/or their agents to 'remedy' a breach of a failure to provide the tenant with the 'How to Rent' guide by providing a copy before the service of a section 21 notice, it is nevertheless sensible to ensure that the tenant is provided with the up-to-date version of the guide at the outset of the tenancy. Not only will this ensure that landlords are complying with their legal obligations but it will also help to avoid complications arising should landlords require possession of the property down the line.