Keeping up with frequent legislative amendments, as well as large scale regulation reform, can seem like a never-ending task; the rental sector in the UK is certainly fast-paced. With the introduction of large financial penalties and even prison sentences for non-compliance, the legalities of being a residential landlord is not something that anyone can afford to get wrong.
Landlord Associations in the UK provide a supportive network of peers and a host of benefits to their members. From professional advice and regular updates to the practical business tools needed to make the lives of residential landlord’s simple and hassle-free.
In an increasingly challenging environment, particularly when faced with the unique difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, support and advice from like-minded professionals has never been so important.
“We know that relevant local information delivered at a local level is vital, as is the accessible support and meeting places to provide face to face resolutions from experienced landlords. We also operate an “It’s good to talk” program for the sanity of our members who might feel isolated and out of touch.” -Bernie Lewis, Wrekin Landlords Association
Why join a landlords association?
Many of our clients ask us about the benefits of joining a Landlord’s Association. So, whether you are new to residential letting with one property and want to find our what you’re responsibilities are as a landlord, a seasoned pro with a large portfolio or somewhere in between, we’ve outlined the key points to consider; we hope you find it helpful:
1. Enhance your reputation and credibility.
The rental market within the UK continues to boom with fewer being able to afford to get onto the property ladder. Tenants are becoming savvy, seeking out reputable landlords who can show that they meet a certain professional standard. As a form of independent verification, your membership to the association will give you the competitive edge, ensuring you find secure, reliable and responsible tenants. It will also demonstrate that you are both professional and trustworthy to trades and suppliers.
2. Resolve potential issues, quickly & easily.
All Landlord’s Associations offer free professional advice, either via a telephone helpline or email. If you needed to consult a solicitor for such matters, you would be unlikely to get more than half an hour of their time for the cost of your annual association membership. It is also worth noting that Landlord’s Associations deal with these matters’ day in, day out so they’re fully up to speed with the latest legislation. There’s no restless night’s worrying as you get the answers you need in no time. The association will help you keep your business running smoothly – avoid any potential stress or confusion; in short, making your life easier.
There are also online forums and regional networking events where you can gain useful insights and learn from the experiences of your peers; if you have an issue, the chances are many other landlords have faced this too and can help.
“We have a helpline available for emergency issues for the members. Over the years we have helped to resolve many disputes between the Landlords and Local Authorities, tenants, neighbours, Letting Agents and HMRC. We also provide advice to other landlords, universities and organisations too.” Tony Bhaur, Leicester Landlords Association
3. Avoid costly errors, penalties and fines.
Landlord law is continually changing – not only is it hard to keep up with, substantial fines are now imposed for Landlord’s that drop the ball. For an example, failure to supply an annual Gas Safety certificate can result in a £6,000 penalty or 6 months imprisonment.
These changes can often be complex, so to ensure that their members are kept fully up to speed with of incoming legislation and landlord certificate requirements all Landlord Associations provide analysis and a clear explanation of your legal requirements. This saves you time, hassle but also, and perhaps more importantly, gives you peace of mind and the confidence that you are well-versed with the current regulations.
4. A library of resources.
When it comes to assured shorthold tenancy agreements or Scottish private residential tenancy agreements, addendums, eviction notices and notices of rent increases, it is essential that these are legally appropriate – otherwise you may be left with an important document that isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
Associations provide their members with a full library of lawyer-approved, document templates and helpful guides, including, section 24, Section 21, Section 8 and Section 13 notices (or the Scottish equivalents). As very busy people, it gives landlords quick and easy access to professional documentation you have confidence in, meaning you spend far less time on administration.
“Our members can access all forms they need to run a landlord business. We run bi-monthly meetings (usually), a monthly newsletter and regular email updates as well as telephone or email help, ensuring all members kept up-to-date with legal responsibilities and best practice” Ruth Clarke, Cornwall Residential Landlords Association
5. Financial discounts and exclusive member benefits.
Partnering with other businesses and providers, Associations are able to offer their members discounted rates on contents and Landlord’s insurance policies. They can also provide commercial discounts with local trades or suppliers that will be employed on a regular basis. After April 2007, it became law that landlords must protect tenant deposits in a government-approved scheme. Many associations now offer discounted rates on deposit protection schemes. These member benefits combined add up to a substantial amount, particularly if you have a larger property portfolio.
6. Join other voices.
Providing in-depth analysis of landlord related issues, your Landlord Association will campaign on behalf of their members, speaking for the industry as a whole – engaging with policymakers at different levels within regional and national Government. Alone you are one voice, but by joining others, policy change is far more likely.
Your Landlord Association will help you stay ahead by distributing local news updates to members – this is particularly handy if you live out of the area where you let your property.
“Our Policy & Parliamentary Affairs department has been campaigning at the heart of the Scottish Parliament since our incorporation and has had numerous campaigning successes. We also link with Scottish local authorities both centrally and via our local branches and actively campaign on behalf of our members” Judith Dunn, Scottish Association of Landlords
7. E-learning or training courses.
Helpful for new landlords, but also a great way to refresh knowledge for experienced landlords, many associations offer regional training courses or for those unable to attend, e-learning. These cover subjects such as safety and regulations, finance and the management of houses in multiple occupation (shared accommodation).
Landlords associations FAQs
How do I join a landlords association?
The great news is that there are no contracts with Landlord Associations. You simply choose the level of membership that suits your situation and requirements. You can see what they have to offer and join most Associations from their websites. Some have offices you can call, the smaller ones may be run by volunteers.
Should you wish to cancel, you can do so at any time. Most simply require notice in writing to do so.
What is the cost of joining the national landlords association?
Most Associations offer varying levels of affiliation; individual, business or even family membership. Joining fees can be as low as a few pounds a month, with annual membership for some of the national schemes starting at £50 for the year (tax-deductible). The professional advice, document templates and potential cost savings vastly out-weigh the relatively minimal cost to join.
Which landlord association should I join?
Each Association differs but the majority offer similar perks, discounts and information. There are seven national landlord’s associations, including Welsh, Scottish and Irish groups. As well as these, there are many local associations too. Regional organisations tend to offer additional discounts with trusted and approved local suppliers resulting in further cost savings. They work with the local authorities and have local knowledge. Most run local meetings – always handy for a spot of networking!
Some regional associations are affiliated to larger national associations giving you local and national support for a single fee.
Who are the typical members of a landlord association?
There is no ‘typical’ landlord association member, as they attract such a wide range of property owners. From full-time property portfolio owners to small-scale landlords with a handful of homes, or even “accidental” landlords – those who have found themselves with a property to let out due to an inheritance for example. The main requirement of joining is that you own at least one property that you rent out either partially or in its entirety.
Is a membership required?
There is no specific residential Landlords Association that you are required by law to join, this remains optional in the UK; however, many of the landlord’s we speak to give high praise to their associations for their wealth of knowledge and for being a great support network.
Imagine a scenario where you find yourself faced with a landlord dilemma – perhaps a tenant has fallen into rent arrears. You might be worried and confused, unsure of how to resolve this issue. Being a member of a landlord association will give you the guidance you need with people around you to support you through the process.
List of UK Landlord Associations
|Landlord Association||contact email||Formed in||Current members||Website Address|
|Scottish Association of Landlordsemail@example.com||2000||4000||https://scottishlandlords.com/|
|iHowz Landlords Association||Peter.Littlewood@iHowz.uk||1974||600||http://ihowz.co.uk/|
|Devon Landlords Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org||2006||498||https://devonlandlords.co.uk/|
|Association of Local Landlords Wessexemail@example.com||1990||405||http://www.allwessex.co.uk/|
|York Residential Landlords Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org||1994||400||https://yorkrla.co.uk|
|Cornwall Residential Landlords Associationemail@example.com||1988||350||http://crla.org.uk/|
|Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org||2000||250||https://pdpla.com/|
|Wrekin Landlords Association||Bpm.email@example.com||1997||180||http://www.wrekinlandlords.co.uk|
|The British Landlords Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org||2017||26,000||https://thebla.co.uk/|
|Sheffield & District Landlords Associationemail@example.com||2000||150||http://www.sadla.org.uk/|
|Leicester Landlords Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org||1997||57||http://www.leicesterlandlords.com/|
Other landlord associations across the UK
|Landlord Association||Website Address|
|Darlington District Private Landlords Association||http://darlingtonlandlords.co.uk/|
|Derwentside Private Landlords Association||No Website|
|East Lindsey Landlords Association||No Website|
|Gloucestershire Landlords Association||http://gloslet.com/Home/|
|North Staffordshire Landlords Association||https://www.nsla.co.uk/|
|North West Property Owners Association||https://nwpoa.co.uk/|
|Rotherham & District Regional Landlords Association||No Website|
|Sedgefield Landlords Association||No Website|
|Slough Landlords and Agents Association||http://www.slough.gov.uk/housing/private-landlords.aspx|
|South Tyneside Landlords Association||https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/housing/advice-for-landlords/landlord-local-authority-partnership.aspx|
|Weymouth & District Private Landlords Association||https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/housing/advice-for-landlords/landlord-local-authority-partnership.aspx|
About the author:
Account Manager, Alan Boswell Group
With almost 30 years with Alan Boswell Group, Steve has an in-depth knowledge of the landlord insurance sector, having worked with some of the largest insurance providers in the UK.
A senior specialist within the Property Owners team, Steve knows a thing or two about Landlord Associations and has a comprehensive knowledge of the issues and requirements residential Landlord’s face. As an avid Norwich City supporter, he is used to a fair few ups and downs himself.