Landlords who have failed to provide assured shorthold tenants with a new statutory booklet at the beginning of their tenancy may run into complications if a landlord-tenant dispute should arise.
Revised wording from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has recently revealed that all residential landlords must give their tenants a printed copy of the guide How to rent: the checklist for renting in England, unless the tenant specifically requests that the guide be sent via a web link.
If a tenant is not provided with a copy of this guide at the very start of their tenancy, landlords may not be able to recover possession under Section 21 (S21) of the Housing Act 1988 – or use the Accelerated Possession Procedure if a landlord-tenant dispute should arise, it has been warned.
Previously, the MHCLG’s wording had stated that by law, landlords were only required to provide tenants with a web link to the guide, as opposed to a hard copy. However, the amended wording states that this is no longer the case.
The new regulations come at a confusing time for landlords, following complex recent changes to the form used for possession claims under S21 of the Housing Act.
The regulations regarding the new booklet only apply where an assured shorthold tenancy is granted for a dwelling-house in England on or after 1 October 2015. However, this includes a written renewal either on or after that date.
The rules are also complex in that, depending on the date the tenancy begun, the version of the booklet which needs to be supplied to the tenant may not be the current, up-to-date version.
Due to this, landlords are being advised to seek specialist legal advice in order to review and renew their tenancy agreements, to ensure that they are protected should a dispute arise.
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