On 31 May 2019, the government updated the How to Rent guide .
This was the guide introduced as part of the changes made by the Deregulation Act 2015. The guide needs to be given to all tenancies that are new or renewed for a new fixed term after 1 October 2015. It is not required for tenancies that started before 1 October 2015 and which have continued after that date as periodic tenancies although there will be relatively few of these in existence.
The guide was updated slightly for the same reasons as it published the new version of the form 6A for serving s21 notices. That is the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act from 1 June 2019 and the consequent changes to the maximum size of a tenancy deposit and the various prohibitions on the charging of fees to tenants .
The key elements mentioned in the new guide are:
1. that fees are not permitted, with a link to the further tenant guidance on the topic;
2. that deposits are capped at 5 weeks rent equivalent, or 6 weeks for tenancies with annual rent of over £50,000; and
3. that deposit replacement products can be offered as an option instead of a deposit but they must be optional.
The new version of the guide must be given for any tenancy that was executed on or after 31 May and must also be given for any tenancy that becomes statutory periodic or is renewed after that date.
This will be annoying to many landlords and agents as this guide keeps being changed and every time it is there is a need to revise processes. Ideally the government should think about this more carefully and make the guide online first with a link being given to tenants and only provided in writing where the tenant specifically asked for it.