Government issues a new How to Rent Guide
The Government has issued a new How to Rent Guide which will need to be served to tenants when a new Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) starts.
What has been updated?
The How to Rent guide has been updated with advice on how to access free legal aid services, advice, and support, regardless of financial circumstances.
The new service, which includes details on the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS), offers free legal advice to anyone facing possession proceedings. HLPAS replaces the Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes (HCPDS), which previously provided legal advice to tenants at risk of eviction.
Who should serve the How to Rent guide?
The landlord or letting agent is required to serve the most up-to-date version of the guide to their tenant. It is important to note that there is no requirement for a landlord to serve the document again if AST is renewed unless the document has been updated. A failure to serve the Government’s How to Rent Guide will mean a section 21 notice cannot be used.
As with non-service of:
The property’s Energy Performance Certificate; and
A current gas safety certificate for the property (if gas is installed)
What is an AST?
An AST is the most common tenancy there is. So more likely than not, your tenancy will be an AST. However, for the avoidance of doubt, a tenancy can be an AST where:
The landlord is a private landlord or housing association.
The tenancy started on or after the 15th January 1989.
The property is the tenants’ main accommodation.
The landlord does not live in the property.
It is also important to note than a tenancy cannot be an AST where:
The tenancy began/ was agreed before the 15th January 1989.
The total rent equals more than £100,000 a year.
The rent is less than £1,000 a year where the tenancy is in London (anywhere else, less than £250 a year).
A tenancy is a holiday let.
The landlord of the property is a local council.
The tenancy is a business tenancy or tenancy of licensed premises.
What does the guide say about rent arrears?
The How to Rent Guide makes reference to tenants speaking to their landlord if they fall into arrears and outlines that landlords are more likely to be more sympathetic towards a situation if they are told earlier rather than later, highlighting the importance of communication.
What if communicating with your landlord/tenant is proving too difficult?
Sometimes, eviction may be a landlord's only option.However, there are other, more cost and time-effective ways that could result in the landlord being paid their rent arrears in a timely fashion and keeping tenants in their homes, an example of this is property mediation.
What is Property Mediation
Property mediation is a process designed to help the parties involved in property-related disputes resolve their issues through facilitated communication and negotiation.
It can cover a wide range of issues, including disputes over rent, property maintenance, noise complaints, and more. It provides an opportunity for landlords and tenants to resolve a mid-tenancy dispute and successfully continue with the tenancy.
Can TDS help me with property mediation during a tenancy?
TDS Resolution offers a free mediation and conciliation service that aims that aims to facilitate a satisfactory resolution between landlords and tenants without the need for further action.
Our service is free and confidential, and our aim is to secure mutually acceptable agreements between landlords and tenants to allow tenancies to be sustained.
The Dispute Service Limited has vast experience in helping parties come to sensible agreements. We are skilled at talking through issues with landlords and tenants and making sensible yet effective suggestions.
To find out more please visit www.tdsresolution.com or get started now using our interactive form below.