Letting agents across the UK are in uproar about the latest How to Rent guide issued yesterday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which follows a similar update two weeks ago on 26th June.
First published in 2014, the most up-to-date version of the ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’ guide must be issued to tenants at the beginning of tenancy if a valid Section 21 ‘no fault’ eviction notice can be served on a tenant.
Updates are uploaded to the MHCLG usually between once a year and every six months but many agents are upset that two updates have followed in quick succession.
The short gap between the two updates means some letting agent may have unwittingly issued an out-of-date How to Rent guide to tenants if they manually update their paperwork systems.
Letting agents are also annoyed that the document, which is a PDF, is date-stamped within its title as ‘June 2018’ even though the latest update is for 10th July – which may confuse many agent’s manual and automatic update systems.
One agent, Harry Albert Lettings & Estates, says it believes the latest version update of the guide is “outrageous” because it appears to be identical to the previous version apart from the ‘July 2018’ date on the bottom of the pages and one headline that has been changed from ‘landlords must’ to ‘landlords should’.
The agent claims this is a “blatant attempt to prevent landlords from being able to exercise their legal rights under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 and 1996,” the company says.
“Now, it is more important than ever that landlords instruct a vigilant managing agent like ourselves to manage their properties. This one nearly flew right under the radar.
The change has also caught the Residential Landlords Association unawares, which today still offers up the version published two weeks ago as the ‘latest’ on its website.
The latest version published yesterday can be downloaded here.