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What’s changed?

When a new rental agreement is signed or renewed, landlords and lettings agents in the private rented sector in England must issue the newly updated guide to their tenants.

Before we dive into what’s been updated, here’s a brief summary of what the guide includes and why it’s useful to have to hand for both tenants and landlords.

The Government publication on How to Rent provides guidance on the entire rental process – from tenants searching for a place to live and what to look out for when viewing a rental property, to everything a tenant and landlord should or must do throughout a tenancy. Finally, it also elaborates on how to end or extend a tenancy agreement and, importantly, on what to do when things go wrong and the associated processes.

So, what’s been updated?

There have been several additions and amends made to lettings legislation in the private rented sector, which are reflected in the How to Rent Guide.

  • All rental properties must have carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a fixed fuel-burning appliance and used as living accommodation.
  • An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) must be provided to tenants. This is a formal report done by electricians who assess all electrical systems in the property – often also called the Landlord Safety Test.
  • The Code of Practice on Right to Rent Civil Penalty Scheme for landlords and their agents was updated to match the current legislation which states that “a landlord should not authorise an adult to occupy a property as their only or main home under a residential tenancy agreement, unless the adult is a British, or Irish citizen or has the “right to rent” in England.”* It also states that landlords can use Identity Verification Technology from designated service providers as a way of checking and showing a tenant’s right to rent.
  • As energy savings have also been a hot topic over the last few years, the guide also includes information on fitting smart meters, as a way to help manage energy bills.

The update also includes a section that landlords must consider adjustment requests made by tenants who have a disability or long-term condition to make the agreement more suitable to their needs.

The above is not a complete list of all the report inclusions. Find the complete Government checklist here.