National Landlords Association

Encouraging renting

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What do you think of private rental market statistics?

By Gary Trent, PRS Stakeholder Lead, Valuation Office Agency.

Statistics on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) can be an invaluable resource.  They give a real insight into sector trends and the wider market beyond our own experience. However, it’s not often there’s the chance to influence their development. however, an online survey running until the 20 April does just that.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is running a user engagement exercise on the future design of our Private Rental Market Statistics (PRMS) for England.  We’d like to know what you currently use the PRMS for, and what changes are most important to you. If you’ve not seen the current PRMS then a good place to start is the PRM maps published on They show median rent levels for studios, 1, 2, 3 and 4+ bedroomed properties by local authority area. A Statistical Summary  explains how we produce them, and what their current limitations are.

The PRMS are based on the rents from around 500,000 new, renewal and statutory periodic tenancies in England. All this rental information is provided on a voluntary, goodwill basis by thousands of letting agents, management companies and landlords; it’s like pulling together the pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle. We’re always keen to hear from anyone who would like to contribute rental information – every single piece of information we receive enriches the data we use to produce the PRMS.

The survey is open until 20 April 2016; you can view it here Get involved and let us know what improvements would make the biggest difference to you. Once the results are in, we’ll publish a high level summary of them on our Statistics webpage later in the year.

You can also find out more about VOA Rent Officers and the Valuation Office Agency on the VOA website.


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The National Landlords Association is on the lookout for two new Board members – could you be the one we’re looking for?

Carolyn Uphill, Chairman of the National Landlords Association (NLA).

The NLA represents private landlords across the United Kingdom, providing advice, guidance, professional development, and working to affect positive change for both its members and everyone involved in the private rented sector (PRS).  We are the largest representative body for private landlords, and currently work with over 66,500 landlords, 31,000 of which are paying members.

About the Role

To improve its effectiveness, market penetration, membership and commercial income, as well as to provide for fresh ideas and successors to the current directors and Chairman in due course, the NLA is seeking to strengthen its Board by recruiting up to 2 new Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) able to contribute to its ambitious growth and development plans.

The role of the Board is to develop strategies that ensure that the NLA is effective, robust, and financially capable of supporting its members, plotting an often difficult course through campaigns, support, advice, and the provision of best practice in the PRS.

NEDs need to remain abreast of legislation and issues affecting the PRS, have rational, independent and timely decision making abilities and to commit between 18 to 24 days per year to NLA business.

Duties will include attendance at Board meetings in London (normally 5 per year) plus associated preparation and fiduciary duties, for which a flat fee of £5,000pa is payable. In addition, NEDs may be co-opted to serve on one or more sub-committees and some special projects or events for which an hourly rate is payable.

About You

Commercial experience at director-level is desirable and the Board is particularly keen to identify a suitable candidate with a strong understanding of IT issues in a services environment.

Candidates will be, or have recently been, active in the private rented sector, preferably as landlords, or in a related and relevant way and be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of and empathy with the private individual landlord.

They must have a working knowledge of relevant company law and corporate governance. Sound presentation skills and media interview experience would be an advantage.

About the NLA

The NLA is committed to raising the standards in the PRS, countering the negative perceptions of the industry and reducing the calls for restrictive legislation which prevents growth, penalises the responsible majority, and adversely affects private renting for both landlords and tenants.

With a head office in the heart of central London and a committed network of regional representatives, the NLA is actively engaged in influencing policy and opinion, as well as building working relationships with the Government and Local Authorities on behalf of private landlords.

NLA members have access to and discounts for its numerous services, from a telephone advice line, landlord information library, as well as courses in professional development, legislation, and how to run an effective lettings business.

How to apply

If you’re interested in applying we’d love to hear what you can bring to the role. Email for an information pack. The Closing Date for applications is 11th April 2016.

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Landlords are a social bunch

Did you know that three in 10 landlords visit property-focussed online forums on a daily basis? That’s a significant proportion.

A third of landlords say they visit such forums once every few days, a fifth visit once a week, and 10 per cent visit a few times per month.

The most referenced reason for visiting these forums is to obtain landlord advice and guidance (54%) and to keep up to date with general industry news (38%).

Interestingly, only a third (33%) say they use social media in a personal capacity, with the remaining two thirds (66%) using it for business purposes.

And at the time of the survey in 2013, the most used platform was facebook and linked in (both 50%), with only two in five landlords (40%) saying they had a twitter account.

Take our latest social media survey

It’s hard to believe that there aren’t more landlords engaging with social media and in particular twitter nowadays. As the largest landlord association the NLA is always looking to develop a better understanding of landlords and exploring new ways to engage with the landlord community.

So if you have a few minutes to spare and are willing to share your social media habits with us, then please take our latest survey here.




If you want change, petitions are not the answer

Budget lobby petitionsSince the Budget in July we’ve had a number of members call or email in to ask why we haven’t actively promoted the online petition against the Government’s proposals to reduce mortgage interest tax relief.

The simple answer that we’ve given to members is we believe the process is a waste of time, and that while we would never discourage landlords from signing it, we are not making it the main focus of our lobbying efforts.

Granted not everyone will agree with us – but we thought it would be useful to explain why the NLA tends not to promote petitions, and what we suggest landlords do to make their voices heard.

How the process works

If a petition gets 20,000 signatures the Government responds to it. In practice this just means that they repeat the same thinking and justification for the scheme that they outlined when they announced it, which is exactly what the Government has done in this case.

If a petition gets over 100,000 signatures then it is considered for a debate of MPs. That sounds impressive to some; however the reality is very different.

Even if it is granted a debate (and remember it needs only be considered) it won’t take place on the floor of the House of Commons but instead in the Grand Committee Room.  This sounds posh but, as you can see, it is effectively a side room which consists of table and cushioned chairs; very different from the grandeur of the Commons and Lords opposing benches. It will also only take place when ‘parliamentary time allows’ meaning that it could be months down the line, by which point the chance to affect change may well have passed. 

Why the scepticism for the process?

Attendance at debates is often abysmal, and most MPs that attend will have been put up by their whips to speak on the petition’s behalf; or more accurately to go through the motions, speak around the general subject and then ask MPs to consider the petition and note its contents. However, relatively few petitions ever reach debate stage.

An example of one which did was entitled ‘To debate a vote of no confidence in Health Secretary the Right Hon Jeremy Hunt’.  At the start of the debate however, MPs had to stress that the Petitions Committee does not have the power to initiate a vote of no confidence.  Furthermore, the Secretary of State did not answer for the Government, but instead the Under-Secretary of State for Health, Ben Gummer responded to questions.  As you can see, it was really packed to the rafters. 

Other lobbing groups share our scepticism

The online petition site was a good innovation, but petitions are rarely an accurate gauge of public feeling on any issue and should not be used as such.

For example, the combined number of teachers and nurses in the UK stands at approximately 800,000, yet just 12,000 or 1.5% (at time of writing) have signed a petition entitled Remove the 1% public sector pay cap. Teachers, nurses etc. deserve a pay rise too’. This shows that the trade unions lobbying for change for these professions share the same scepticism for the process that we do, and that ultimately they’re not taking it seriously as a means of effectively changing government policy.

Government is already debating the proposals

Finally, and more importantly in this case, the Budget proposals are already being debated by MPs, so why do we need a petition? The Budget is a piece of legislation which, like any other, needs to be debated and follow the proper passage of a Bill.

It’s in Parliament that the NLA is focusing its effort, working hard to meet with and brief MPs in order to gain support for possible amendments to the Bill. 

Join us and lobby your MP more effectively

Not all MPs are aware just how much this will impact on landlords and their tenants, so we need to get as many on board to be our voice in Parliament in order to influence change on the Finance Bill.

And here’s where we ask for your support. We need you to contact your MP. To help we have introduced NLA Lobby, which will allow you to send a pre-written email to your local MP voicing your opposition to the proposals. All you need to do is input just a few bits of information in order to find out who your local MP is. It’s simple and takes a matter of minutes.

So sign a petition, by all means. But if you’re concerned about being able to survive the proposed Budget changes once they come into full effect in 2020, then your best option is to get lobbying your local MP before it’s too late.

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Five things to be aware of as a landlord

5 tipsThere is so much more to being a landlord than just purchasing a property and finding tenants that it is near impossible to name just five things to look out for. Being a landlord means that you are running a business and for it to be a success it must be treated as such.  This includes complying with the many, ever-changing laws and regulations which govern the sector.

To avoid getting into trouble here are 5 things a landlord should know:

  1. Tenancy agreement

It is vital that you provide your tenants with a comprehensive tenancy agreement which is robust and up to date.  A tenancy agreement sets out the terms of the tenancy and includes important details of each party’s responsibilities in a clear, concise and transparent way. The tenancy agreement may also be called upon should a dispute arise at the end of the tenancy. It is therefore vital that the agreement covers every aspect of the tenancy.

  1. Documentation

At the start of a new tenancy, the landlord should provide a tenant with certain documents. If you don’t, you could be in breach of the law, and may run into difficulties if you need to regain possession of your property.  From 1 October 2015, the Government will require a landlord to provide their tenants with the following documentation:

  • A valid Energy Performance Certificate.
  • An annual Gas Safety Certificate. Each gas appliance must be checked and certified each year.
  • A copy of the Department’s ‘How to rent’ Guide. This guide is accessible for free on the Department’s website:
  • Relevant tenancy deposit protection information.
  1. Deposit protection

If you take a deposit, it is the law to that it must be protected in a Government-approved scheme such as my|deposits.  A landlord in England and Wales (other rules apply to Scotland and NI) must protect the deposit within 30 days of receiving the deposit and provide the tenant with the prescribed information within those 30 days.

  1. Protect yourself and know the law

As a landlord, you need to protect yourself; that includes conducting a thorough tenant check and having appropriate landlord insurance.

You also have a responsibility to your tenants and you must ensure that you know what they are and follow them. This will ensure the safety of your tenant and keep your property in good nick.

As well as providing a safe environment for your tenant, you must also be aware of a wide range of other responsibilities. For example, is your property in an area where the local authority requires landlords to be licensed, and if so, do you have a licence for the property?  If you don’t, you will be breaking the law and could end up with a hefty fine.

  1. Information

Having readily available advice and support can mean all the difference.  Joining a landlord association such as the NLA will provide you with help, advice and support to ensure the smooth running of your letting business. The NLA has a comprehensive online library and an advice line. The NLA also offers training for new and existing landlords to ensure you develop your professional skills and are up to date with any new changes.

Most calls to our advice line have been because a landlord has an issue which arose because they were unaware of the rules and their responsibilities. Getting into trouble like this is stressful and sometimes ends up being very costly.

More than anything else, do your research before embarking on the landlord journey.

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European Court of Justice VAT ruling could cost UK landlords so act now

Gary Rowson, One EGary Rowson, OneE, urges landlords considering energy efficiency improvements to take action.

A recent EU ruling on the application of the UK’s reduced rate of VAT for energy saving equipment and materials is likely to increase costs for landlords with domestic properties and individuals who are either building or refurbishing their homes (who are not able to recover VAT incurred on their construction works).

Under current UK legislation, a reduced VAT rate of 5% is applied to the installation of energy-saving materials to make dwellings ‘greener’ – such as solar panels, insulation or micro-combi boilers.

However, the European Court of Justice has now decided that this interpretation is not in line with the relevant VAT Directive, which only allows the reduced VAT rate to be applied where there is a ‘social aspect’ to the works.

The judgement means that UK VAT legislation will have to be amended and the scope of the relief is likely to be significantly restricted.  While there’s no clear timeframe for when this will be implemented, landlords would be wise to seriously consider bringing forward any energy efficiency improvements in order to take advantage of the current situation.

If you have any questions about how this might affect your rental property business, please call OneE Group on 0207 8701234 or send an email to

And to find out more about how the NLA can help you to make energy efficiency improvements, visit NLA Property Services.

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Is the grass always greener on the other side?

Matt Oliver, NLA Public Affairs Officer, on more evidence to suggest rent controls simply aren't the answer.

Matt Oliver, NLA Public Affairs Officer, on more evidence to suggest rent controls simply aren’t the answer.

Today’s publication of the interim report from LSE, commissioned by the NLA  debunks the myth that rent control is a golden bullet, easy to implement and guaranteed to work in the UK.

The launch comes on the day that the four Labour candidates aspiring to be leader (and potentially our next Prime Minster) go head-to-head in a live TV debate.  The Private Rented Sector (PRS) and housing is going to be top of the agenda, especially as Labour’s London Mayoral candidates are all advocating some form of rent control in the Capital as they pitch for votes in their separate election primary.  This is all despite the fact the Mayor has no such powers to implement such a scheme.

Rent controls are non-transferable policies

When it comes to the PRS, LSE’s report shows the grass definitely isn’t always greener. For example, the model cited for the policies advocated by Labour during the election was Ireland but, as the report concludes, the controls introduced in the last few years have had very limited effect.  In fact the country is experiencing a housing crisis, with rapidly rising rents and a near-standstill in new housing production.

Ah, but what about Germany?

Yes of course, Germany. This is often cited as the best example of a country with a stable PRS, yet LSE’s report found that the system of indefinite security and in-tenancy rent stabilisation has in the past been cushioned by low house prices and demand, something we don’t have here, whilst initial rents can be well above current market levels in high-demand areas. Meanwhile in San Francisco and New York it looks like the main beneficiaries of interventionist policies are older middle class households, with the young hardly getting a look in.

What’s the moral of the story?

Well, in a nutshell: rent controls sound great on the surface but the evidence points to the contrary. The NLA is a strictly neutral political organisation.  However, as Labour members listen to these proposals for the PRS and contemplate choosing their third leader in eight years, much like some do with Tony Blair (the only Labour leader to win three successive General Elections), they will remember that you often don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

*LSE’s final report, due to be published later this year, will examine London in more detail to see specifically how renters in the Capital would be affected by various proposals for change.