All about the How To Rent guide and how to use it

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a house with a how to rent guide

In this article, we go over the topic of How To Rent Guides and what you should be aware of legally about the guide so that you can avoid fines and attract the best tenants to your property.

What is the how to rent guide?

The ‘How to Rent’ guide provides tenants with important information on their rights and responsibilities when renting a property, including:

  • Details on tenancy deposits
  • Fees and charges
  • Legal lengths of tenancy agreements
  • Affordability checks
  • Understanding which benefits like Housing Benefit or Universal Credit can assist with rent payments
  • Guidance on finding and securing a suitable rental property
  • Proof of identity and immigration status for right to rent checks
  • Considerations around making changes to the property as a disabled tenant.

It is useful to note that the How To Rent Checklist and the How To Rent Guide refer to the same documents.

Download the latest version of the How To Rent Guide

Cozee make sure the Latest version of the How to Rent guide is always up t date on our website. Download it below

What is the most recent version of the how to rent guide?

The most recent version of the How To Rent Guide was issued in October 2023.

The first version of the guide and the law that mandates the guide was first produced in 2015 and ever since then, any assured tenancy in the UK must follow these guidelines.

Does the how to rent guide change every year?

No, the “How To Rent Guide” doesn’t change every year but every two to three years the guide usually updated. You can check to see the latest version of the guide and if there are any changes to the law here.

How to rent guide from Cozee

Why was the how to rent guide introduced?

The “How To Rent” guide was introduced in England as part of the government’s efforts to improve transparency and provide essential information to both landlords and tenants.

Its primary purpose is to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities when renting a property under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement and improve overall standards in the private rental sector.

The introduction of the guide was also a response to concerns about the complexity of tenancy agreements and the lack of awareness among tenants about their rights and obligations.

When do you issue a how to rent guide?

In England, landlords are required to issue the “How To Rent” guide to new tenants at the start of a new tenancy or when renewing an existing assured shorthold tenancy agreement on or after 1 October 2015.

Landlords should provide this guide in its most current version (2023).

Additionally, landlords must also provide tenants with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property and a valid Gas Safety Certificate.

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Can you issue the How To Rent guide by email?

If a tenant has permitted you to contact them via email, then yes, you can email them a copy of the guide here or send it to their address directly.

How to issue a how to rent guide step by step

To begin a tenancy, one of the first steps is making sure that the tenant has a copy of the “How To Rent Guide”.

Do you need to issue the How to Rent Guide to all types of tenants?

The ‘How to Rent’ guide needs to be issued to tenants with an assured shorthold tenancy (commonly known as AST). It does not need to be given to lodgers or excluded occupants like family members.


Download the latest version of the guide

You can easily download the latest version of the ‘How to Rent’ guide from the Cozee Properties website below. Having the guide readily available to send to new tenants can save time later. Downloading through Cozee also ensures you have the most up-to-date version.

Download the latest version of the How To Rent Guide

Cozee make sure the Latest version of the How to Rent guide is always up t date on our website. Download it below

Post the guide or issue it via email

The guide can be provided either as a physical copy or electronically. Posting a hard copy to the tenant’s new address ensures they receive it. Alternatively, emailing a PDF version provides a quick, trackable way to deliver the guide.

Does a landlord or an agent have to give a how to rent guide?

Yes, it is a legal requirement for landlords or letting agents to provide tenants with a copy of the guide prior to occupying the property. Using Cozee Properties property management services guarantees all legal obligations like the ‘How to Rent’ guide are fulfilled, so you never have to worry.

Keep track of which tenants have been issued the guide

Make a note of when and how you issued the guide to each tenant. Retain copies of postal receipts or emails as evidence in case of any dispute. With Cozee Properties, full audit trails are maintained so you always have proof of legal compliance.

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What happens if you forget or don’t issue a how to rent guide?

The law states that according to the Deregulation Act 2015, in Section 39, it introduces punishments for landlords who do not comply with laws around the How To Rent Guidfe. This is listed in Section 21B of the Housing Act 1988.

This provision empowers ministers to mandate landlords to furnish tenants under an assured shorthold tenancy in England with relevant information in the checklist.

The tenant could refuse to comply with a section 21

If a tenant decides to protest a section 21 notice for eviction, they can use the fact that a landlord didn’t issue them with a copy of the How To Rent Guide at the start of their tenancy to invalidate a section 21.


Landlords can also face fines if found out by their local council that they are not following the how to rent checklist seen here. There are a myriad of reasons for this to happen so it is important you use the right letting agent or make sure you stay on top of the law reading the guide in detail.

fine from no how to rent guide.jpg

Being listed on an unsafe landlord list

If a landlord is issued an unsafe landlord notice or is placed on an unsafe landlord list, it typically means that they have been found to be in violation of housing regulations or have failed to meet certain safety standards in their properties.

The consequences for being placed on such a list can vary depending on local regulations and the severity of the violations, but they may include:

  • Enforcement Action
  • Loss of Licensing or Accreditation
  • Public Disclosure
  • Legal Proceedings
  • Loss of Rent

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Cozee are professionals in dealing with the management of London property. Enquire today to use our service to make sure your reputation as a landlord stays highly regard amongst tenants.

What to do if you have forgotten to issue a how to rent guide?

The information provided below is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional legal advice. Please rely on a lawyer for direct advice on forgetting to issue a how to rent guide.

We are not liable for any actions taken based on the content below and you should always refer to governmental court information and the Landlord and Tenant Act to make final decisions. We do not give legal advice.

For landlords in the UK, issuing the “How To Rent” guide to tenants is a legal requirement under the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) regulations.

Failure to provide this guide can have implications, potentially affecting your ability to serve certain notices and initiate possession proceedings.

If a landlord forgets to issue the “How To Rent” guide, it’s essential to take prompt action to rectify the situation. Here’s what landlords should do according to UK legislation.

Issue the Guide Immediately

As soon as the oversight is realised, the landlord should promptly provide the current version of the “How To Rent” guide to the tenant. This can be done electronically or in hard copy format, depending on the tenant’s preference.

Document the Issuance

It’s crucial for landlords to keep a record of when and how the guide was provided to the tenant. This documentation can serve as evidence of compliance in case of any disputes or legal proceedings in the future.

documenting a how to rent guide

Review and Rectify Procedures

Landlords should review their procedures for issuing documents to tenants to prevent similar oversights in the future. This may involve implementing reminders or checklists to ensure that all necessary documents, including the “How To Rent” guide, are provided at the start of each tenancy.

Seek Legal Advice if Necessary

If the failure to issue the “How To Rent” guide leads to complications or disputes with the tenant, landlords may need to seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations under UK housing legislation. Legal professionals can provide guidance on how to resolve the issue effectively and mitigate any potential consequences.

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