by Richard Lambert
CEO of the National Landlords Association
What is a Landlords Association?
A landlords’ association is a membership organisation representing and supporting the best interests of landlords. Trade associations often start off as a lobbying and representation group but frequently evolve into business support networks – this is certainly true of the National Landlords Association.
Who are the National Landlords Association?
We are the UK’s largest membership organisation for private residential landlords and have 41,000 members. With over 100 Acts of Parliament and 400 sets of regulations governing the private residential sector, we help our members navigate through what can sometimes feel like a minefield of red tape, and proudly offer some of the most comprehensive learning resources and market-leading intelligence available in the sector. Our collective experience and the inclusive, wide-ranging reach of our organisation combined with a wealth of online products, and value-added services, is why we call ourselves The Knowledge Network.
At the NLA, we represent members’ views and interests at a local, national and European level and seek a fair legal and regulatory environment for both landlord and tenant. We endeavour to understand the issues landlords face on a day-to-day basis, and actively lobby on behalf of our members to influence policymaking through government, parliamentarians, regulators and other interest bodies to ensure a fair and balanced private rented sector (PRS).
This is then encapsulated through our press work, which engages the wider public in the form of press articles, blogs, and white papers – all of which can be accessed here.
In addition to this, our representatives run regular local meetings and landlord training courses in over 100 locations across the UK and provide an important link for our members with local authorities and fellow landlords.
We have a dedicated advice line who are there to help when landlords need direct support and assistance, often when they are at their most distressed. The advisers are experienced landlords themselves and can support callers in navigating their way towards a solution. The team answered over 40,000 calls in 2018, giving us an invaluable insight into what UK landlords need.
Who are Typically Members? New Landlords or Established Landlords?
It’s important to remember that landlords are not homogenous – something our representatives working on the ground around the country can attest to. NLA members range from full-time landlords running property portfolios to those letting a single property. Some of our members are also so-called “accidental landlords” – those who did not intend to become landlords but do so when they inherit property, move elsewhere because of their job, or because they formed a new relationship.
Accidental landlords often only consider themselves as landlords for the first time when something goes wrong – for example, the property needs urgent repairs, the tenant stops paying the rent, or there are issues with anti-social behaviour. This can end up being expensive and cause a great deal of heartache, as the landlord has not realised, and so not adequately prepared for the risks they’ve taken on.
Are There any Requirements to Join a Landlords Association?
The only requirement is that you own at least one property that you rent out partially or in its entirety. Whether you rent out a room in your own property, let one or two properties as a pension investment, or run a large letting portfolio, the NLA can offer advice, support and discounts to help you get the most out of your business. Additionally, joining an association provides you with a network of like-minded individuals to relate to.
How Can Becoming a Member of an Association Help?
There is increasing pressure and expectation that landlords should take a professional attitude towards their lettings business. I’ve already talked about the support we can provide through our advice information and guidance and the opportunity to network with other landlords. The NLA works with a range of partners to offer trusted products and services that are vetted before they are put out to the network, ensuring what’s on offer is reliable and tailored to their use.
In particular, being a member will enhance your credibility, giving recognition to every responsible landlord. It also helps you keep up-to-date on the latest information and legislative changes in the PRS. Whatever your status, most landlords face the same regulatory and legal challenges, currently governing the private residential lettings sector (PRS) – regulation you may be unaware of if you aren’t a member of a landlords’ association. The repercussions of not understanding these regulations can be very costly.
Unlike other member organisations, we devote a great deal of time to changing the frequently unfair negative characterisation of landlords. For instance, we launched a campaign on the benefits of the PRS, which sought to change the pervasive stereotype that landlords are the only ones who can benefit from the PRS. The campaign, which can be accessed here, focused on how it’s possible to be at once a landlord, interested in making money, and a socially conscious member of society,
Our other work around landlords’ mental health and our guidance to landlords on dealing with domestic violence has also brought attention to the hidden issues landlords face that the media and the wider public may have not considered before.
Does it provide accreditation or licensing of any kind?
The NLA provides a central, nationally recognised accreditation scheme, offering a UK-wide signpost of verification to allow responsible landlords to promote their services. This is vital as more informed, more engaged landlords have happier tenants, which in turn creates a more harmonious PRS. Accreditation can be gained by attending a course or using the NLA’s valuable online resources.
Is it a requirement by central government or local councils for landlords to be part of an association?
It is not a requirement for landlords to join an association. However, we would recommend that every landlord considers the benefits of taking out membership. Landlords tend to work in isolation, but associations now give them a chance to congregate, whether in person or through our social media channels.
So whether it’s to be introduced to other like-minded landlords, to keep up to date on legislation, to take part in learning opportunities in the form of webinars and meetings, to gain accreditation, for access to free advice and a library of resources, or for member discounts and privileges, there is something on offer for every landlord.
Your membership and participation in NLA Campaigns can help us represent a more powerful collective voice to the government, and ultimately get a fairer deal for landlords in the private rented sector.
Richard Lambert is the CEO at the National Landlords Association (https://landlords.org.uk/)
How to Contact or Join the NLA:
To join the NLA, please visit their membership page to find the payment plan that best suits you. Alternately, you can speak to a member of the team on 020 7840 8937.
You can also sign up to their free newsletter to receive licensing and legislation updates, thought-provoking news pieces and practical property advice straight to your inbox.