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.
A supportive network of peers, Landlord Association’s in the UK provide a host of benefits to their members – ultimately providing the professional advice and business tools needed to make the lives of residential landlord’s simple and hassle-free.
If you’re like most of the landlord’s we speak to, you’ll be keeping a close eye on your business finances, as costs continue to spiral – particularly with recent significant changes to the tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages. You, of course, reduce costs wherever you can, but choosing not to join an association could be a false economy.
Peter Littlewood, CEO of Landlord Association, iHowz comments;
“As a Landlord Association, we are always pleased when we are able to help members with a thorny problem. If you are in a tight spot, we’ll give you the advice you need, fast – solving your issue, quickly and easily”.
“The help I got from iHowz was so beneficial and of such financial benefit, far more than the annual £75 fee. It is the best money I have spent, and I continue to be an iHowz member”.
iHowz member, London
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). Personally, I think the professional advice, document templates and potential cost savings vastly out-weigh the relatively minimal cost to join.
Should I join a Landlord’s Association? Is it worth the cost of the membership?
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, are 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:
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 accreditation from the association will give you the competitive edge, ensuring you find secure, reliable, responsible tenants. It will also demonstrate that you are both professional and trustworthy to trades and suppliers.
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.
Avoid penalties & costly 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, 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.
Your library of resources.
When it comes to Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements, addendums, eviction notices and notices of rent increases – it is essential that these are appropriate, legally – 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 21, 8 and 13 notices. 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.
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.
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.
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 multiple occupation properties.
How do I join the National Landlords Association?
The great news, unlike many other memberships, is that there are no contracts with Landlord Associations. You simply choose the level of membership that suits your situation and requirements. Most offer functionality on their association websites, and you can call directly to join.
Should you wish to cancel, you can do so at any time. Most simply require notice in writing to do so.
Which landlord association should I join?
Each Association differs slightly but the majority offer similar perks, discounts and information. There are seven national landlord’s associations, including Welsh, Scottish and Irish groups. There are many local schemes in addition – regional schemes tend to offer additional discounts with trusted and approved local suppliers resulting in further cost savings. Local associations also give the opportunity to attend events, locally – always great for a spot of networking.
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.
|Landlord Associations||Website Address|
|iHowz Landlords Association||http://ihowz.co.uk/|
|Association of Local Landlords Wessex||http://www.allwessex.co.uk/|
|Cornwall Residential Landlords Association||http://crla.org.uk/|
|Darlington District Private Landlords Association||http://darlingtonlandlords.co.uk/|
|Derwentside Private Landlords Association||No Website|
|Devon Landlords Association||https://devonlandlords.co.uk/|
|East Lindsey Landlords Association||No Website|
|Gloucestershire Landlords Association||http://gloslet.com/Home/|
|Leicester Landlords Association||http://www.leicesterlandlords.com/|
|North Staffordshire Landlords Association||https://www.nsla.co.uk/|
|North West Property Owners Association||https://nwpoa.co.uk/|
|Portsmouth & District Private Landlords Association||https://pdpla.com/|
|Rotherham & District Regional Landlords Association||No Website|
|Scottish Association of Landlords||https://scottishlandlords.com/|
|Sedgefield Landlords Association||No Website|
|Sheffield & District Landlords Association||http://www.sadla.org.uk/|
|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|
|Wrekin Landlords Association|
|Wrekin Landlords Association||https://yorkrla.co.uk|
About the author:
Account Manager, Alan Boswell Group
With almost 30 years with Alan Boswell Group, Steve has an in-depth knowledge of the financial services 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.