Most associations only represent residential landlords, The British Landlord association represent the residential and the commercial sector.
The Commercial sector save for the COVID-19 period have less need for support from a professional organisation, and this is due to several reasons. Most commercial properties are let on a long lease which generally is full repairing and insuring leases.
Most commercial properties are let on leases that use forfeiture clauses which means court action as consequences of rent arrears is not necessary.
Commercial tenants do not have the same protection as residential tenant, nor do commercial tenants have a host of charities supporting them like residential tenants.
What is a landlords association?
It is a support network for the private and corporate landlord, including letting agents. Its role is to provide support, to educate in managing rental properties, raise standards and representation. Representation for its members is usually by lobbying the Government.
Frequent monthly meetings are held by the board of directors, board members along with annual general meetings where members can attend.
They provide resources like documents, advice, courses and keep their members up to date, with relevant legislation and adopting best practices when managing a rental property.
In the last few years, the Government has phased in new housing law, as well as introducing new tax rules for real estate.
They also play a crucial role, in making its members aware of new, or pending legislation. The Tenant Deposit scheme is a good example. Many landlords got caught out, where they were not aware of the new law.
Are these organisations useful for landlords?
They offer expert advice about tenancy issues or the rights, and responsibilities of UK landlords; at a time when there is no let-up in the number of new legislation that affects the way a landlord is able to run their business.
Parliament has recently passed a raft of new legislation which directly impacts UK landlords, it is vital to know what this new legislation’s mean to landlords.
They generally know in advance of legislation being introduced the likely implications and challenges for even professional landlords and what individual landlords may need to do to comply with any new law.
The private rented sector finds association incredibly useful, it affords the opportunity to meet fellow landlords, property owners and to get to know what is happening in the landlord community.
Landlord Association campaigning
By providing a positive collective voice, associations offer a valuable support network for their members.
Associations collate information and views about both the major and more minor developments in the buy to let market and the experiences encountered by their members.
By disseminating this information, the association can help other landlords better understand and prepare themselves for current market conditions and difficulties.
Association act as a valuable resource for members where they can offer advice and practical tips and suggestions.
Associations are generally the first with the news of any proposed legislation, they know the implications for landlords in general and what members might need to do to comply with that new legislation.
A powerful collective voice, speaking on behalf of all its members will seek to influence the way in which any new legislation is drafted.
They speak to their members and in turn to important decision-makers such as government, local councils, other — associations.
They act as a very powerful pressure group for its members’ voicing concerns. They can use the pressure to influence decision-makers to consider the interests of their members.
What to consider when joining an association?
- What are the benefits of joining an association?
- What is a national landlords association?
- What is the cost of joining an association?
- How are national association funded?
- Is there a free one that I can join?
- List of associations in the UK
- Which associations can I join?
Associations are keen, to ensure all members are aware of any new legislation and best practices, that is relevant to them.
What are the benefits of joining an association?
Generally, they offer the following benefits:
- The helpline offers legal advice for members on all property-related issues.
- Gives members peace of mind especially when meeting other likeminded people
- Help and guidance for private landlords as well as corporate landlords.
- Information for members, on letting issues.
- Some offer access to discounted Deposit Protection Schemes
- Information for landlords, on regulations and current legal requirements.
- Good relevant source of case law for England, Wales & Scotland
- Good selection of documents with various tenancy agreement templates.
- Discounts on 3rd party member services
- Meet Fellow investors national or local to listen & discuss landlords’ issues
- Meeting or members locally
- Strengthens the voice of the landlord community, which can be particularly useful, when petitioning against unfair regulations.
- Be a voice for its members and seek to influence draft legislation.
- Best practices for property management
- Landlord Training Courses
- They can help you with difficult tenants
- Access to the latest section 21 eviction notices including section 8 eviction notice.
- Tenant credit & reference checks
- Discounted Insurance and access to lenders who specialise in Buy to Let mortgages
- Letting agents can benefit from joining a landlord organisation like ARLA and or any one of the other national associations. Some of the products discounts available to members can be a considerable saving for any letting agent.
Over the last few years, the government has introduced a raft of new legislation which has a direct impact on the landlord. It is important for letting agents, landlords and property managers be aware of the new legislation so they are compliant.
The consequences of non-compliance to the majority of the new legislation means a financial penalty in some cases can be up to £30,000 and making any section 21 eviction notice invalid. These are just some of the recent legislation:
What is a national landlord association?
A national landlord association will cover members in England, Wales and Scotland. The Three national associations are:
- The British Landlord Association – The BLA
- The National Residential Landlord Association – The NRLA
You can find out from your council housing department if you have any local or regional associations in your area.
Local and regional associations generally do not have the same resources, support or influence as the national ones. However, local ones have a good knowledge of local issues, much better understanding than the national associations.
Local associations are incredibly important and some do work alongside national ones to provide a better service with a louder voice.
The BLA is the second largest organisation when it comes to members after the NRLA. The BLA is totally free, it does not charge for membership. All the services provided directly by the BLA are free too.
The BLA claim they are the fastest-growing national landlord organisation in the UK, given their impressive line of free services and free membership it is not surprising they are growing rapidly.
How are national landlords association funded?
Generally, they are funded by fees charged to members to join. Associations will receive payments from the products sold through them like building insurance, credit referencing, deposit protection and for selling data to 3rd party for marketing purposes.
Revenue is also generated, from advertising through various media that association use.
British Landlords Association – (The BLA)
The BLA is a free national landlord association, with no annual fee, or recurring fee. The membership is free any landlord or letting agent can join. They currently have just over 26,000 members. It is one of the fastest-growing association when it comes to members. This is not surprising given the membership is free.
They have a helpline for members which currently operates five days during the Coronavirus crisis. The BLA launched a financial Coronavirus financial aid (CFA) for their members recently.
This helps the members deal with rent strikes and other related problems. Members do not need to pay for the legal process under the CFA. The association pays for the costs on behalf of its members. The CFA is not available to new members who joined after the 3rd of May.
The BLA claim their support to their members is unrivalled in financial assistance & quality of their helpline.
The BLA also have a daily online paper that is published seven days a week. The content is impressive, it covers landlord issues across the board. The association also has templates and downloadable forms for the landlord community.
National Residential Landlords Association
Without a doubt, the NRLA is the biggest association for landlords in the UK with over 65,000 members. The two association’s the NLA & RLA have recently merged to create the NRLA. The total membership is likely to be around 65,000+.
The NRLA campaigning skill and reach far exceeds other associations. The NRLA run a helpline for members Monday to Friday.
The NRLA does not currently offer any financial support for members to deal with rent strike or Coronavirus related issues.
iHOWZ is not a national association. However, it is another excellent organisation. It is an old established association, that was created in 1974. It would seem iHOWZ has a solid loyal member base.
We were not able to ascertain their total membership numbers. iHOWZ offer various services, all main services other associations provide.
It is an association that is passionate about what they do and the service they provide. Their website states: “Many landlord associations do similar, but iHowz exists purely to help, not make a profit nor pay directors large sums”.
You can choose which one best suit you for your requirement.
What is the cost of joining an association?
The cost of joining a local or national association vary save for the BLA which is free. However, there are many small local associations too. The only downside to obtaining membership with a local association is; you are unlikely to receive the benefits you would receive by joining a national association.
You can choose which one best suit you, from the information and list provided. The cost varies from full free membership costing £160 to £75 depending on which association and level of membership you take. Benefits of membership vary from local and national organisations, with national ones providing a wider range of services.
Is there a free association that I can join?
To the best of our knowledge, the BLA is the only free association in the UK. Not only is it free, but The BLA also does not take a commission on building insurance, eviction services, legal services, and so many other products.
This, of course, means members will receive 100% of the discount passed to them. The BLA does not allow advertising through its website or its social media platforms. The only exception to this is charities the BLA support like CAP.
The staff who work at the BLA, including the CEO and its lawyers are 100% dedicated to helping landlords and campaigning for landlords to be treated fairly. They are unpaid volunteers working full time; this allows the association to offer a unique service to landlords nationally.
How do I join a national association?
You have two options: by visiting the website or contacting the association of your choice. All three national associations are happy to go through their benefits and products. The RLA and the NLA are merging this month. The new association is going to be known as the NRLA.
Which are recommended for membership?
We have found associations scattered around different parts of the UK, covering mainly local areas. Some associations are national associations and appear to cover England, Wales & Scotland. Which one you should join is a matter of preference.
However, I would say the BLA provides the best value for its members and the services you get from the BLA in some areas is the best amongst all others.
As a blogger when I was asked to write this article, I spoke to members of other associations. One thing stood out, many landlords when joining the BLA thought there must be a catch, maybe the free membership has limitations of services you can use.
With the BLA there is only the free membership no diamond, platinum or premium membership.
Ihowz and the BLA members seemed to be the happiest with there membership out of the ones I spoke to. I could only find a few members from each due to the time factor, so my finding may not be accurate.
The British Landlords Association (The BLA) and the NRLA cover Scotland too. The NRLA have formidable resources and experience in campaigning.
List of associations in the UK 2021
- British Landlords Association (The BLA)
- Devon Landlord Association
- Southern Landlord Association
- Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL)
- National Landlord Association
If we have missed any association on this list, then please let us know. You can click on the links above to access the association websites.
Date: 14th of January 2021