From our Save Housing campaign against Article 4 directions to our NLA Landlord Live show, it has been another busy year at the National Landlords Association. Let’s take a look back on this year’s big stories and how they impacted on the wider private-rented sector…
2011 started with our Saving Housing in Portsmouth campaign – our on-going fight against Article 4 directions being taken out by local authorities across the UK, in an attempt to limited the amount of shared housing in their areas. It has obvious ramifications for landlords, particularly those which cater to students.
We extended the campaign to Newcastle in February, along with 26 other local authorities. You can join our Saved Shared Housing campaign by visiting our website.
Also in February we announced extended hours for the NLA Advice Line. It is now open from 9am – 7pm on Mondays (except bank holidays), and from 9am to 5pm Tuesday – Friday. More than 800 calls a week are now made to the Advice Line.
In March, the government announced Stamp Duty Land Tax changes, which we campaigned for. It provides significant tax savings for bulk property purchases. NLA Chairman David Salusbury welcomed the changes: “The stamp duty concessions on bulk purchases will encourage landlords to invest more in residential property, thus providing much needed housing in the private rented sector.”
In April, we launched NLA Property Insurance, providing insurance tailored specifically to the needs of landlords, providing coverage for loss of rent, temporary accommodation for tenants if needed, theft of keys and malicious damage by a tenant.
In May, the inaugural NLA Landlord Live took place at London Olympia, with thousands of landlords attending to meet with over 300 suppliers servicing the private rented sector. There were live property auctions, free workshops on local housing allowance and our Advice Line staff on hand to answer questions.
In June, we released statistics showing more than half of private residential landlords are planning to reduce the number of properties they let to tenants on housing benefits. Worryingly, more than 90% of landlords say they can’t afford to reduce their rents to absorb the cuts.
Also in June, we welcomed two new Non-Executive Directors to our board – Tony Richard and Carolyn Uphill. Both were formerly NLA Regional Representatives.
In July, we released our tips for landlords planning to let their properties during the 2012 Olympics. If you are planning to let out your property, you’ll find them helpful.
In August, our landlord survey found 96% of landlords have a “very good” or “good” relationship with their tenants. 3% say their relationship is adequate while just 1% say its poor. The survey also showed the majority of buy-to-let landlords would be significantly affected by any rise in interest rates. A rate rise of two percentage points would have a negative impact on 89% of landlords, with 53% saying the affect would be significant.
In September, we released figures showing two-thirds of private landlords would consider taking advantage of the government’s Green Deal, designed to make homes more energy efficient at no direct cost to the landlord
In October, we welcomed our new Chief Executive Officer, Richard Lambert, to the NLA after a successful nine years as head of at the British Woodworking Federation.
In November, we held our NLA National Conference in Birmingham, with keynote speaker Terrie Alafat, Director of Housing Growth and Affordable Housing at Communities and Local Government describing the PRS as “definitely at the top of the government’s agenda”.
And to end the year in December, we made a special Christmas donation to homeless charity Crisis, to help them provide 50 places for homeless people over the festive period.
Although 2012 will inevitably bring challenges for landlords, it is our continued mission to help promote best practice (as shown by so many of our members) whilst representing landlords at a local and national level.
A very Happy New Year to all the readers of the NLA blog!