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New 'How to Rent Guide' released on 2 October 2023

3rd October 2023

You will know already that in order for a landlord to rely on a section 21 notice as a means of terminating an assured shorthold tenancy created after 1 October 2015, the landlord must have first served upon the tenant the then current How to Rent Guide booklet in the prescribed form. A failure to do so will have the effect of making invalid the section 21 notice served and any possession action based thereon ineffective.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government does, from time to time, amend/update the How to Rent booklet and thus keeping track of which is the correct version to be served can be problematic for landlords and their agents.

The latest version of the How to Rent Guide was released yesterday, 2 October 2023, and can be found here on the Government website.

The Government website explains that "This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:

  • what to look out for before renting

  • living in a rented home

  • what happens at the end of a tenancy

  • what to do if things go wrong

This is the most up to date version of the Guide. It incorporates all changes detailed in the update history below.

We are updating the easy read which supports tenants with learning disabilities. It is supplementary to How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England and will be available as an additional supporting resource where appropriate."

The guide must be provided to the tenant—

  • in hard copy; or

  • where the tenant has notified the landlord, or agent, of an e-mail address at which the tenant is content to accept service of notices and other documents given under or in connection with the tenancy, by e-mail.

According "serving" the tenant with the Guide is only effective if physically handed to them unless they have specifically agreed for service by email (and the landlord is able to evidence that agreement for an alternative method of service).

If the “How to Rent” guide is amended during the tenancy, as has occurred here, there is no requirement to serve the new version immediately on your existing tenant but note the following in relation to any renewal of the tenancy.

Where a written renewal of the tenancy is made between the same landlord and the same tenant for substantially the same property, another copy of the “How to Rent” guide only needs to be provided if the guide has changed since the previous tenancy and previous version supplied to the tenant. The advice here is that if you are in any doubt that what is available now is updated version of anything that you may have served before then simply download from the link shown above and serve the latest version whenever the tenancy is renewed. This same cautionary advice applies if the tenancy ends and becomes a statutory periodic tenancy.


This Legal Update describes the position in law as at the date of this article and care should be taken to note any subsequent amendments to the position as set out above.  The Legal Update is provided free of charge for information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of KDL Law or by KDL Law as a whole.

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