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, has less need for support from a professional organisation, which 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 unnecessary.
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.
Suppose you are a property owner with one property or an extensive property portfolio. In that case, it is worth considering joining a professional organisation from the list below.
What is a landlord’s association?
It is a support network for the private and corporate landlord, including letting agents. Its role is to provide support, educate in managing rental properties, raise standards and representation for the private sector landlords. 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 and discuss any relevant issue.
They provide resources like documents, advice, courses, keep their members up to date, relevant legislation, and adopt best practices when managing a rental property.
In the last few years, the Government has phased in new housing law and introduced new tax rules for real estate.
They also play a crucial role in making their members aware of new or pending legislation. The Tenant Deposit scheme is a good example. Many get caught out, where they were not aware of the new law.
Are these organisations useful?
They offer expert advice about tenancy issues or the rights and responsibilities to their members; at a time when there is no let-up in the number of new legislation that affects the way they can run their business.
Parliament has recently passed a raft of new legislation that directly impacts UK landlords. It is vital to know what this new legislation means.
They generally know that legislation introduces 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 these organisations incredibly useful; it allows meeting fellow landlords, property owners, and knowing what is happening in the property investment community.
Landlord Association campaigning By providing a positive collective voice, they offer a valuable support network for their members.
They collate information and views about both the significant and more minor developments in the buy to let market and the experiences encountered by their members.
By disseminating this information, they can help members better understand and prepare themselves for current market conditions and difficulties.
They function as a valuable resource for members where they can offer advice and practical tips and suggestions.
They 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.
Speaking on behalf of all its members, a powerful collective voice will seek to influence how any new legislation is drafted.
They speak to their members and, in turn, essential decision-makers such as the Government, local councils, and other associations.
They function as an influential 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?
- 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?
They are keen to ensure all members are aware of any new legislation and best practices relevant to them.
What are the benefits of joining an association?
Generally, they offer the following membership benefits:
- The telephone helpline provides legal advice to members on all property-related issues including rent arrears.
- Gives members peace of mind, especially when meeting other like-minded 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 members on regulations and current legal requirements.
- Good relevant source of case law for England, Wales & Scotland
- Good selection of documents with various assured shorthold tenancy agreement templates.
- Discounts on 3rd party member services
- Meet fellow investors, national or local, to listen & discuss landlords’ issues.
- Meet fellow landlord 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 notice template, including section 8 eviction notice.
- Tenant credit & reference checks
- Discounted insurance and access to lenders who specialise in Buy Let mortgages
- Most national landlords’ associations can help members with the court possession process.
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 that directly impacts the landlord. It is crucial for letting agents, landlords and property managers be aware of the new legislation, so they are compliant.
The consequences of non-compliance to most 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:
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act Client Money Protection scheme HMO licensing extensions Minimum space standards Mortgage interest tax relief Rent controls in London (pending) Minimum energy efficiency standards Complaints Resolution Service Electrical installation checks
What is a national landlord association?
A national landlord association will cover members in England, Wales, and Scotland. The two 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 significant, and some do work alongside national ones to provide a better service with a louder voice.
The BLA is the second largest membership organisation when it comes to members after the NRLA. The benefits of membership with the BLA are that it is free. They do 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 the national landlord’s association funded?
Generally, they are funded by fees charged to members to join. They will receive payments from the products sold through them like building insurance, credit referencing, deposit protection, and 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. They pay for the costs on behalf of their 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 property 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 numerous services, all primary services others provide.
It is an association that is enthusiastic 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 ones 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 more comprehensive 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 members and campaigning for landlords to be treated fairly. They are unpaid volunteers working full time; this allows them 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?
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 a free membership, no diamond, platinum, or premium membership.
Ihowz and the BLA members seemed to be the happiest with their membership out of the ones I spoke to. I could only find details of 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
- iHOWZ Southern Landlord Association
- Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL)
- National Landlord Association
- Westcountry Landlord Association
- Jersey Landlord Association
- Darlington District Private Landlord Association
- Barnsley Residential 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
Top read Blogs: