LANDLORD EDUCATION PT 1
What do landlords looking to further their understanding of managing and buying residential rental property? How do landlords arm themselves with the knowledge and skils to become successful in the buy to let property market?
In these fast moving times with increasing amounts of regulation and rising levels of complexity associated with running a residential lettings business; more and more landlords feel it necessary to turn to education to fill the gaps in their knowledge base.
Unfortunately, as yet there isn’t a single nationally recognised qualification for landlords with which to assess their competence. Therefore landlords looking to increase and update their skill levels are faced with a myriad of educational opportunities.
Property Hawk therefore has made it it’s business to look in depth at a landlord’s education options in order to see how they can best equip themselves with the knowledge base they need to be a 21st century landlord.
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Current situation for landlords looking for an education
The current situation is very patchy for landlords wanting to be educated. There is a lot of information out there for a landlord but the quality and the motivation of some of the providers is questionable. The main organisations that provide landlord education are:
- Landlord associations and professional bodies
- Landlord mentoring companies
- Property gurus
- The Internet
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Landlord associations & professional bodies
Landlord education has traditionally fallen to the many and varied private membership landlord organisations.
These landlord associations frequently run their own training events on specific topics such as the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) often using their own in house staff to conduct the training.
The Residential Letting Association for instance has a range of courses covering topics such as: basic lettings,
preparing an inventory, HHSRS, rent arrears .
These courses cost £60 for a half day and £100 for a full day with a discount for landlord members. My only experience of the one that I attended was very good, although much of that could be attributed to the expertise of the particular trainer.
Unfortunately for northern based landlords, the courses are all held down in Crawley, not too useful for landlords that live up in Newcastle. Courses cost £58 for half day and £116 for a full day before member discounts. The NFRL is a federation of the regional landlord associations; some of which offer their own locally based training courses. These courses are frequently carried out in association with a local authority and therefore have a local flavour aimed at ensuring that landlords understand the regulatory environment that controls the private rental sector. These courses are therefore unlikely to touch on financial matters such as tax, or investment strategies and are primarily aimed at existing landlords.
Finally there is the National Landlords Association (NLA)
This national subscription based landlord organisation offers a number of landlord development foundation level courses across the UK in which it deals with topics such as: self managing / use of agents, the regulatory regime, safety matters (gas, electrical, Housing Health & Safety Rating System, Fire, etc.), property matters (repairing obligations, use of contractors, Houses in Multiple Occupation, insurances, decent home standards etc.), tenancy matters (finding tenants, tenancy agreement, inventories, deposit protection, rent reviews, benefits, ending a tenancy, abandonment, etc.), record keeping, accreditation. The cost to non-members for this full day course is £90.
This landlord association’s website offers an online based tuition service which aims to enable landlords to test and sharpen their knowledge of issues relating to being a landlord including: safety, financial and legal matters. The service is free to members or £40 pa for non-members.
Landlord mentoring companies
Over the last 5 years there has been an explosion in mentoring companies. These companies have been established with a mixture of motives so landlords using them need to tread carefully. The essential premise is that these organisations and companies aim to educate landlords about the process of property investment and having helped them establish investment goals they will then provide the support to help a landlord select and purchase often their first residential investment property. The support that these organisations give is more physiological than technical in that they provide the confidence that a new property investor needs to follow through with a property investment by showing them how and where to invest.
Where landlords need to be wary is that many of these companies intention is to introduce potential property investors to properties that they have sourced or ones that the company receives a commission for selling from a property developer known as an introducers fee. Therefore some companies that offer so called free course do so purely with the intention of getting the unsuspecting individual to invest in one of their sourced investment properties. The educational content of these courses is miniscule and they only provide an introduction to the rudiments of property investing without touching on the details a landlord needs to know about to invest and manage their investment property correctly.
One of the most successful and high profile property mentoring organisations has been Inside Track. They offer FREE introductory workshops and claimed to have educated 100,000 potential property investors. They also have a weekend course for £695, which aims to provide additional information on how to be a successful property investor. When I enquired about their individual courses on tax & lettings no details could be given and I was told that they were forthcoming and were only available to members. Membership of property investment club is available at a trifling sum of £6495. Their sister company provides ‘discounted’ properties to property investors who become members.
In sharp contrast to the practices of Inside Track is Russ Whitney. This company with its origins in the US is a purely education focused organisation. It too offers free introductory courses which unlike Inside Track still appear to be numerous and at venues throughout the UK. They recommend that potential landlords go to the introduction session and then if they are still serious about taking the course they can progress to the 3 day workshop. The course costs £773 and allows a participant to take a guest with them. For this the attendee will also receive a house study kit comprising of a book and CDs which they are recommended to read before attending. What is more Russ Whitney guarantees that because they have no relationships with developers or property sellers attendees can therefore have faith that they have no conflict of interest in giving advice on which types of property to invest in.
But I have also read a fair amount of negativity regarding the real value of the content especially in the US, so please do your own research before signing up.
What Whitney does offer is an approach to goal setting and wealth building that is very American. It aims to build a community built around the goals of achieving wealth through property investment and it does this through its support and the recognition of the success of members. Its’ approach may be good for those individuals who are not natural self-starters.
PART 2 – of the landlord educational special continues next week so if you want to know what else is available or what courses you really should be doing don’t miss it.
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