The How to Rent guide has been updated from 1 February 2016.
The update has been caused by the introduction of the Right to Rent also on 1 February which requires landlord to check the identity and immigration status of all their occupiers. The How to Rent guide has been updated so that tenants are aware that landlord will be asking for the necessary information.
What is Required?
Landlords must give tenants the How to Rent guide prior to the service of any section 21 notice. If it has not been given, then the s21 cannot be validly served. There is no requirement to give the How to Rent guide at the start of the tenancy as long as it has been given before the section 21 is served. It can be given by email if the tenant has given the landlord an email address and indicated that they are happy to receive service of the guide by email.
The correct guide to give is the one that was current at the time the tenancy began or was renewed. So for tenancies commencing or actively renewed on a new contract from 1 February the new version of the guide must be given. If the guide is updated then the landlord does not have to serve an updated version. However, the landlord must serve the updated guide at the time the tenancy is renewed or becomes a statutory periodic tenancy. So for any tenancy which commenced or was renewed on a new contract on or after 1 October 2015 (where the original How to Rent guide should have been served) there will be a need to serve the updated guide on the next renewal or on that tenancy becoming a statutory periodic tenancy (which is unlikely to occur before 1 April).
The current version of the How to Rent guide can be found here