Are you currently a landlord in the United Kingdom?
Or are you thinking of becoming one?
The buy to let industry in the UK is still profitable. If you live in the South then you will probably need to look north for the best yields. But the demand for private rentals is strong and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
But being a landlord in the UK these days is not easy. I have been a UK landlord for some time now and I have seen many changes. The government seems to be targeting private landlords with their stamp duty increases, removal of taxation benefits and other new laws.
And if you fall foul of some of these new laws then you can expect hefty fines. To be successful as a landlord in the UK now you have to be aware of all of the changes and make sure you are compliant.
I do actually agree with the changes that have been made, and are planned, to improve accommodation standards for private tenants. Unfortunately there are some “dodgy” landlords who only really care about the money that the tenants pay them in rent. They are very slow at making any property improvements if at all.
I have seen many examples of poor accommodation being offered in the private rental market. It made me embarrassed to be a landlord. Personally I go beyond the bare minimum when it comes to standards. I provide my tenants with accommodation that I would be more than happy to live in and I suggest that you do the same.
So today I wanted to give you my opinion on the benefits of joining the National Landlords Association (NLA). It will cost you a minimum of £89 a year plus a £14 joining fee. If you want to join the NLA as a business then the cost is £174 a year. So let’s take a look to see what the NLA offers and you can decide if it is worth it for you or not.
The Knowledge Network
The NLA know what they are talking about when it comes to landlords in the UK. As a member you will have access to their Knowledge Network which has a lot of legal information, business information, professional expertise and more. As a member of the NLA you also have the chance to attend networking events and seek the advice of one of their local representatives.
The NLA claims that when you become a member you will be able to access many products and services that will benefit you as a UK landlord. They also claim that you will gain a number of privileges and discounts as a member too.
Landlord Rights and Responsibilities
To survive and prosper as a landlord in the UK today you must be fully aware of your rights and responsibilities. As an NLA member you will have unlimited access to their telephone advice line at no cost.
They also have a comprehensive online library which is well organised and I found it pretty easy to find what I was looking for quickly. The NLA also runs free webinars which do provide a lot of value to members.
There is a quarterly magazine called UK Landlord Magazine which is usually full of good information and will keep you informed about upcoming changes that could affect you. The NLA runs a number of landlord development courses on subjects such as:
- Foundation level training for new landlords
- House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- Capital Gains Tax
- Portable Appliance Testing
- Understanding possession
- Deposits, disputes and damages
These courses are normally very good and delivered by experts. They are held at different locations around the country on a frequent basis. You will receive a discount as an NLA member. For example the foundation course is £155 for non members and £115 for members.
Support for Landlords
The NLA offers a number of different support services to its members. You can access a number of different agreements, notices, letters and forms that you can edit to suit your requirements.
They will also provide you with tax investigation insurance free of charge which is useful if you ever have to face an enquiry from HMRC. The cost of this insurance is normally around £100.
As a UK landlord you need to be up to speed with the various licensing schemes. The NLA has something called NLA Licensing 365 which is an up to date resource on all things landlord licensing schemes as well as consultations.
The NLA can also provide discounted mortgages, rent protection, tenant checks, property insurance and more. Although I have not tried all of these services, I was impressed by the ones that I did use.
National Meetings and Events
There are a number of meetings organised by the NLA in different parts of the country every month. These are free for members to attend and they are usually very informative. You also get the opportunity to meet other landlords which can be beneficial.
Usually at these meetings an NLA representative will brief landlords on the latest news and any planned changes on the horizon. There are usually other topics discussed as well and all attendees have the opportunity to ask questions. Quite often local councils support these events and send a representative too.
Credibility for your Business
If you have a website for your property investment business (I strongly recommend this) then you can use the NLA membership logo on your site. You will also be issued with an NLA membership card.
There are other materials that the NLA can provide you with to support your marketing. For example they provide a leaflet for tenants that explains why they should choose a landlord that is a member of the NLA rather than one that isn’t.
They do a pretty good job explaining why a landlord that is an NLA member is a “responsible and reputable landlord” which is all good stuff. There is an online verification tool that you can use to show a prospective tenant that you are still currently a member of the NLA.
Then there is the NLA Accreditation scheme. The aim of this scheme is to prove to tenants that you are a professional landlord and apply the best management practices. This will also give you credibility with local authorities as well.
To achieve the NLA Accreditation you have to attend a one day foundation course. These courses are regularly held all across the UK. Then you will need to complete the NLA online library core subjects.
So is an NLA Membership worth it?
In all honesty I would say yes. As an individual you will only pay £89 a year and you do get access to a lot of resources and support services for that. The tax investigation insurance is worth this on its own.
Enhancing your reputation as a credible landlord is something that you should always be doing. Even if you don’t use a lot of the services offered by the NLA being able to tell prospective tenants that you are a member can make a big difference.