The government has launched a set of guides aimed at helping tenants and landlords, as well as agents and leaseholders, find out essential information about their rights and responsibilities.
A new “how to” series has been published aimed at anyone involved in the private rental sector (PRS), or those who own or plan to own a leasehold property, as part of a drive by the government to crack down on poor practices within the industry.
The guides cover “how to let” for landlords, “how to lease” for leaseholders, “how to rent a safe home” for both tenants and landlords, and “how to rent” for tenants. They were compiled using information and feedback from landlords, tenants, letting and management agents in a bid to create more clarity around issues involved in renting in today’s market.
According to housing minister Heather Wheeler, the advice will arm tenants, landlords and leaseholders with all the information they need to be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities, as well as to know when and how to challenge “poor behaviour”.
“The guides will be reviewed in light of any new legislation to ensure tenants, landlords and leaseholders are supplied with up to date information.”
The government has also launched a consultation looking at creating a minimum tenancy period of three years to create additional security for renters, which has been met by mixed reactions within the industry. A landlord redress scheme is also being discussed, while all letting agents will also be required to be part of a client money protection scheme to prevent money being unlawfully taken from tenants and landlords.
What’s included in the guides
- How to let – This looks at best practice for landlords when renting out a property, with information on deposit protection, gas safety checks and smoke and carbon dioxide alarm requirements.
- How to lease – Anyone who owns or is looking to buy a property on a leasehold rather than freehold basis can find information on the costs involved, who is responsible for what, and what to do if things go wrong.
- How to rent a safe home – Tenants can find information here on potential hazards in a rental property, such as gas and electrical safety, damp and mould, with advice on how to report problems. It should also be useful to landlords looking to raise their standards.
- How to rent – This provides a comprehensive checklist for tenants to demystify the private rental market, with details on tenancy agreements, bills, deposits and more. Landlords must provide their tenants with a copy of the guide either in printed form or as a PDF attachment at the start of any tenancy.