It has been brought to our attention that there have been minor changes to the How to Rent Guide.
If you visit the MHCLG website it still records the last edit date as the 31 May, but there have been two tiny changes since then.
On the 3 June there was a version produced that changed “NALS” and the web link, to their new name “Safeagent”.
Then on the 29 July 2019 wording on page 4 was changed to say that if you don’t have a guarantor you can ask Shelter “for help” has been changed to “for advice” (they won’t act as guarantor!).
If you download and open the latest PDF and go to the document properties you will see that the edit date is the 29 July 2019.
This creates a problem in the question of which was the right version of the notice to use. If a tenant moved in 2 June it is clear they must have been given the How to Rent Guide from 31 May 2019. However, if they moved in 4 June 2019 it is most likely that many agents will have issued a How to Rent Guide dated 31 May, but is this valid? Agents who always collect the How to Rent Guide from the MHCLG website every time it is used, should be fine. If it is in your software or on your computer system it could be a problem.
There is little risk immediately as possession is unlikely to be being sought this early in the tenancy (at least not using the section 21 notice and this is really the only penalty). However, these lettings should be “red flagged” and if a section 21 is needed during the fixed term then another How to Rent Guide should be issued before using section 21. If the tenant remains beyond the original tenancy then when a renewal is done or a statutory periodic arises, serve a new How to Rent Guide to make sure.
Going forward, unless MHCLG agree to always announce any changes, it would seem wise advice to always get your latest How to Rent Guide from MHCLG for each tenancy. The link to the MHCLG How to Rent Guide is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent
We do have all versions of the How to Rent Guide if you ever need to have an old version.