What is a landlord association?
This question does not have a straightforward answer. The services, costs and organisation of each ‘association’ can be very different. Some associations have thousands of members, swanky offices and the ear of government, others might have a membership of ten, meet up at a local church hall and debate whether to have digestives or rich tea for the next meeting.
There are three main types of landlord association in the UK. These are:
National Landlord Associations
National landlord associations which have evolved out of longstanding grass route democratic associations set up by landlords for the benefit of their members. They also have a campaigning element to them making representations at national level to government and policy makers on laws and regulations that affect the Private Rental Sector (PRS) and the interest of private landlords. What these large landlord associations don’t always announce is that unlike their smaller local brethren these associations are run as money making companies with chief executives and large numbers of employees to pay. More accurately these landlord associations are single interest group company owned by the members.
The NLA are the biggest of the landlord associations. They do stop short of stating their exact numbers of members on the website however it’s likely to be in the tens of thousands. However, without a doubt some of the bigger landlords with thousands of properties do belong to this and the other national landlord association meaning that the membership are likely to control tens of thousands of individual rental properties across the UK. The NLA do like it’s northern based counterpart the RLA play a useful role by making representation on public policy that impact on landlords and residential investors. Membership of the association starts at £50 per year for an individual. Services include: Landlord Training Courses, news, advice and a landlord forum.
This association sits in the shadows of the bigger southern based rival being based in Manchester. It does what it’s London based rival does but arguably being Northern based the RLA finds it more difficult to influence national thinking and policy in the same way. Membership is more expensive too at £79.95 for a year. The usual range of services are offered from landlord training to a helpline and information along with promised discounts on landlord services. It claims to have over 17,000 members.
Pseudo National Landlord Associations
Pseudo national landlord associations that were set up by an individual or small group of individuals to generate income for the owner by charging landlords to join and earning money from buying their services.
Some would argue that these are not landlord associations at all in that they do not have a board of members but are run by an individual presumably for their own financial benefit. If Property Hawk claimed to be a landlord association this is the category in which it would fall in to, but we don’t make any such grandiose claims. We are just a free website for landlords, our aim is simple, to help landlords, then in return, we may make the odd penny from an advert or if a landlord buys insurance or secures a BTL mortgage through us.
The associations that fall into this category are:
Landlord Expert is the home of the The Landlord Association. It claims to be the only free landlord association in the UK and therefore, be defacto the biggest. This landlord association offers general news and advice about being a landlord and buy-to-let investment.
The cost of the annual membership is £80. For this a landlord gets access to forms, advice, discounted landlord insurance and new and many things that a landlord can get free on websites such as Property Hawk. One addition that you do get as is the case of the two national landlord associations is access to a telephone helpline, so if the facility to be able to pick up the phone and be talked through a situation with someone who has a little more experience than them might be helpful ( I don’t have any inside knowledge on how well trained or manned the helpline is, so if anybody has experience of this then just drop a comment below).
Local Landlord Associations
Local landlord associations are throw back to the origins of the landlord association and how the two national bodies originally set up. They have been established locally by a small number of landlords and operate democratically and are run for the benefit of the local members and to represent the interest of landlords in their area. This means largely working with local authorities to make sure that landlords are not ignored when it comes to policy making. Increasingly they are playing a part in fighting local landlord licensing schemes including the creation of article 4 directions that tighten the planning rules regarding the change of use requirements for HMO properties particularly in areas of high student concentration under threat of the so called ‘studentification’. This is a list in no particular order. If we have missed any please feel free to post the details below:
Cornwall Residential Landlords Association
If you can think of anymore, or if these links change, then please let us know.
What does a landlord association do?
Depending on the type of landlord association the aim is that these organisations aim to represent the interest of landlords and also by having an enhanced buying power be able to negotiate discount with suppliers of landlord circumstance. The other thing that the national and local landlord associations do is provide a collective voice for the landlord community and try and ensure that landlords interests are represented.
Having said this don’t forget though that you as a landlord have a vote both locally and nationally so as well as seeking representation through associations; a landlord can make their voice heard through the ballot box and by lobbying their local politicians to make sure that they promote policies that don’t undermine the Private Rental Sector. Property Hawk has been known to launch the odd petition if we feel that something is unfair, unnecessary or just unjust. For example the proposed landlord licence.
Should I join a landlord association?
This is a personal decision for every landlord. Clearly if a landlord believes that they will save money as a result of the discounts then it could be a financially prudent decision. Equally, a landlord could find that they are paying out for services such as free property management software that they could get free from websites like Property Hawk. Landlord Associations do play useful role in promoting the interest of the landlord community and ensuring that the collective voice is heard.