This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Read more

What you need to know about the “How To Rent” Guide

Essential Guide for Tenants and Landlords


Under the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015, it's mandatory for private residential landlords in England to provide tenants with the official 'How to Rent' guide issued by the Government. This essential booklet serves as a comprehensive resource outlining the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants throughout the tenancy period.


Understanding the 'How to Rent' Guide

What is the 'How to Rent' Guide?

It's an official government-issued booklet that landlords must provide to their tenants at the beginning of the tenancy. It includes crucial information on renting safely and responsibly.

Key Contents of the Guide:

  • Information on maintaining the property, executing repairs, and the legal responsibilities of both parties.
  • Advice for tenants on what to do if they encounter issues with the property or landlord.
  • Guidance for landlords on their legal obligations and best practices for a harmonious tenancy.

Legal Implications for Landlords:

Failure to provide the 'How to Rent' guide can lead to legal repercussions, including the potential invalidation of a Section 21 eviction notice, making eviction more difficult. Landlords may also be liable for damages if tenants suffer losses.


The guide is accessible for free on the government website and should be read by tenants before signing any tenancy agreement.

Importance for Both Parties:

The guide is a vital tool for avoiding disputes and understanding the legal framework of renting in England.


Rules on Tenant Fees:

Under the Tenant Fees Act, landlords and letting agents are prohibited from charging most fees related to a tenancy. This section includes an overview of permitted and prohibited fees, along with specific exceptions.

Permitted Fees in a Tenancy:

  • Refundable Reservation Fee: The only charge allowed is a refundable reservation fee to hold the property during reference checks. This fee cannot exceed one week's rent and must be refunded if the tenancy doesn't proceed.
  • Specific Exceptions: Landlords may charge reasonable costs for lost keys or tenancy breaches after due process.

Prohibited Fees:

Viewing fees, tenancy set-up fees, administration fees, reference check fees, credit check fees, renewal fees, and check-out fees are all banned. If asked to pay these, contact your local Trading Standards team.

Enforcing the Ban on Unfair Fees:

Local councils enforce the ban. If you've been charged an unfair fee, you can complain to the council, withhold rent, or take legal action. However, seeking advice from a housing advisor is recommended before proceeding.

How to Rent Guide and Deposits:

As of 1 June 2019, there's a cap on the deposits landlords can charge. For annual rents under £50,000, the maximum deposit is 5 weeks' rent. Deposits must be protected in a government-approved scheme, and landlords have a 30-day deadline for returning the deposit or providing reasons for deductions.

Additional Resources:

For further support and legal advice, consider consulting the Housing Ombudsman, Shelter, and Citizens Advice. These resources can provide specific guidance tailored to individual situations.


The information provided here is for general guidance only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. While efforts are made to ensure accuracy, laws and regulations may change, and individual circumstances vary.