Prescribed Information - Section 21 New Rules

3 min read
Buy to let landlords in England must give new tenants a prescribed ‘How to Rent’ Guide. Failure to present this document to new tenants, either in hard copy or in electronic format, can automatically invalidate any subsequent Section 21 Notice action to evict those tenants.

The Government set out these rules in its Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 and the legal requirement for landlords to ensure tenants receive the document is explained in Section 3 under the Act.

If you want to know more about the full Section 21 eviction process, please read The Eviction Process for Tenants.

For specialist buy to let conveyancing support, call our team of experts on 0333 344 3234

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What’s in ‘How to Rent’?

The Prescribed Information Section 21 guide sets out basic information about the legal rights and responsibilities tenants have in assured shorthold tenancy, which is the most common type of tenancy in England. There is also plenty of information related to renting in general, such as advice on how to select the right property for a tenant’s needs.

What information specific to landlords does the guide cover?

1 - The need for landlords to provide a copy of the guide (which obviously would not be read if a tenant should not receive it).

2 - That landlords have to confirm a tenant’s immigration status, identity, credit history and possibly employment status because of Right to Rent checks and if these are faulty or not forthcoming then they cannot legally allow a tenant to rent the property.

3 - It explains the existence of landlord accreditation schemes and that details of these are available from the local authority.

4 - That landlords must ensure any tenant deposit funds are protected by an accredited scheme and that they must pass on any related paperwork about the particular scheme they’re using to tenants . More about this matter is available here including information about the potential fines for non-compliance – up to 3 times the deposit sum.

5 - That landlords must provide smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if there are any solid fuel appliances and must also provide a gas safety certificate - each year - and an Energy Performance Certificate (except for houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), see below).

6 - That landlords must have an appropriate licence if letting a large HMO i.e. more than 2 floors and more than 4 people.

7 - That landlords can only evict if they give the legally required amount of notice and a court order and that a landlord cannot evict a tenant for 6 months if a serious complaint has been checked by the local authority and must repair any relevant fault.

8 - Material related to the landlord’s basic requirements: to maintain the structure, exterior of a property and appliances; carry out repairs; give 24 hours’ notice of a visit etc.

How to Rent Guide prescribed information for landlords

How can you get a copy of the prescribed information/How to Rent guide?

Click on the graphic to the left and the guide downloads as a PDF.

Can you get the prescribed information in hard copy

No. ‘How to Rent’ is only available online; any landlord who wants to pass this guide on in hard copy must print it out themselves. You could get the tenant to sign and date a physical copy to show receipt. Alternatively you could get them to send an email to you confirming receipt of the document sent via email.

What do you do if you have an existing client that you want to evict?

Industry experts have recommended that you ensure the client receives the guide before you start proceedings via a Section 21 Eviction Notice to be ‘on the safe side’.

Do you have to provide a new guide to tenants each time an updated version of the prescribed information is published?

No. You have fulfilled your legal requirements when you’ve provided the guide once.

Need advice on prescribed information, Section 21 Notices and becoming a landlord? Call 0333 344 3234

*Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Mortgage Lender Panels

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