Landlord Associations: An Underused Resource

There are more than 30 Landlord Associations nationwide, most run by enthusiastic voluntary teams of elected members who have a wide range of experience in a diversity of professions, as well as being landlords. They were often started by small groups of landlords sharing their experiences and hoping to pick up useful tips, while trying to avoid the pitfalls of being a landlord.

Since the Housing Act 2004, legislation has increased dramatically and landlords have found that they are more answerable to - and need to be more knowledgeable about - both local and central Government legislation. There has also been a noticeable desire to appear more professional. Local Associations' main aim is to support landlords by preventing them from making poorly informed decisions, helping them to improve the quality of their properties and showing them how to credit reference and choose the perfect tenant.

Most Associations provide a forum at meetings so that landlords can express their views. These views can then be taken up by Association representatives at a variety of local or national level committees to promote the interests of members. Associations also involve guest speakers at these meetings to explain in detail the most recent changes in legislation and their implications for the landlord. Recently the licensing of Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) was the topic of concern for landlords but now the focus is on Tenancy Deposit Schemes and Accreditation.

At a local level, Associations can often offer discounts on a range of goods and services, from building materials to insurance. Websites and email access allows members to advertise their vacant properties or pass on good tenants they cannot house. A list of member-recommended contractors is another bonus to membership, as is the ability to speak first-hand to someone in a local office about local concerns.

Referencing prospective tenants is now more essential than ever, with the weight of the law still appearing to favour the tenant. An Association that is linked to a national reference checking company is the first big step towards finding the right tenant for your property.

SDRLA, created in 1995, does all this and much more. With almost 400 members, it is one of the fastest-growing Landlord Associations in the country, having recently expanded into Exeter and beyond. For more information visit www.nfrl.org.uk to find out the location of your nearest Landlord Association.