End of the Road

by Larry Sweeney

16:38 PM, 13th September 2018
About A year ago

End of the Road

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End of the Road

Landlords are reeling, Punch Drunk from the sustained assaults by Central and local Government, not to mention hostile media articles suggesting huge swathes of landlords are preying on tenants offering accommodation for sex.

About time we had a little straight talking, and this brings me to the title “end of the road”. I say categorically that it is time out for the so called associations. We have reached the end of the road with both the NLA and the RLA. Between both these organisations they have approx 90,000 members.

The total number of landlords in the UK in the 2013/14 tax year according to HMRC was 1.75 million, therefore the NLA and RLA represent approx 5% of the sector. This statistic in itself should be enough to set alarm bells ringing for the PRS. How can they represent our interests when their membership take up is so pathetic. Why is that ?

Property118 in the past has been extremely generous to both the NLA and RLA, however I say it is time to wake up and ditch membership. They have done little to nothing for the PRS of late. Take section 24, I am not ,getting this unjust measure completely scrapped was a winnable argument, but what could have been pushed was the cancellation of retrospective taxation. Put simply section 24 is introduced going forward but where Landlords made commercial decisions based on the tax relief, those landlords should not be penalised.

The two bodies representing 5% of our sector could not even win that argument. What about selective Licensing. I took Liverpool to task with the ICO and prevailed. Why did The NLA and RLA fail, or not bother to highlight the Illegality of their scheme. Apologies to the RLA on this point, they were too busy assisting the council introduce their scheme by co regulation. You cannot sit on both side of the fence, unless of course you are the RLA.

Still on the subject of the RLA, I have had sight of letters sent to landlords by the RLA threatening to evict them from co regulation because Liverpool city council allege some disrepair issue. It is hard to fathom, the body supposed to represent landlords is turning on its own members. Both organisations are busy with co regulation of some form or another, apart from Liverpool Sheffield and Wales with “rent smart” come to mind.

The NLA currently offer 9 courses to boost their coffers including a course on Immigration. Landlords who wish to remain au fait with legislation and run their businesses professionally can simply gain all of the knowledge they require on line as well as monitoring Property118.

As regards the “end of the road” I would say that by supporting these two organisations we are actually harming the PRS. Why? Simply because Government and Local authorities can give credibility to any scheme they decide to impose upon us, by claiming the engaged with the bodies who represent us. That however, is not true for two reasons, firstly on the figures quoted above they don’t represent us at all and secondly by assisting councils with their dubious schemes, they clearly represent councils. We landlords are simply an income stream, which should be cut off forthwith.

So where does the PRS go from here. Every landlord ie 1.75 Million plus needs to immediately join Property 118. Membership is free, and before I am accused of being a lobbyist for this site, allow me to explain my rationale. We need to get as many landlords as possible on the same page. The NLA and RLA by their lack of action and derisory membership numbers as well as their affiliation with councils have proved beyond any doubt that they have hit the buffers. Once we get the numbers we can start fighting back and believe me we can fight on many fronts. One final example , I have exposed a flaw in Sefton”s procedure which now must be examined by the ICO. The RLA and NLA were absent from that fight.

Surely they should be examining every Council scheme up and down the land to protect their member”s interests.. The facts speak for themselves. Ditch your memberships. The Associations have run out of Road.

Larry



Comments

Chris

19:36 PM, 15th September 2018
About A year ago

I am an NLA member and think some the things they do are good such as local meetings, advice line and having the benefit of Tax investigation insurance.
However I feel they their for their own profit alone.
I would support the foundation of a Co-op stile landlord organisation that offered the same services but the landlord members shared the profits.

Mark Alexander

20:44 PM, 15th September 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris at 15/09/2018 - 19:36
That's all fine in theory, but who is going to run an organisation like that for nothing? Not me, that's for sure!

I bit of more than I could chew when I started Property118, it was a very expensive hobby at first.

Then, despite winning the UK's largest direct public access Representative Action in history, recovering £27,500,000 of overpaid BTL mortgage interest and creating positive case law for landlords, without earning a penny from it, some people chose to attack me for monetising my blog when I decided to come out of retirement and use Property118 to promote my tax planning consultation service.

My perception of running an organisation representing landlords is bit like my perception of politics, i.e. if it doesn't pay good money the only people who will get into it will be those with no sense of the real world, those with a big ego to feed or the outright corrupt.

Richard Adams

21:17 PM, 15th September 2018
About A year ago

It was suggested at outset of this post that Mark & Neil might care to set up a proper landlords' representative organisation via Property118 to do the job the NLA etc patently don't perform. Mark has explained quite reasonably why he would not be part of it as anyone who knows him would expect and completely understand. I posted earlier that it was unfair to put him on the spot after what he has already achieved for us. Yet urging the establishment of a new body continues without any of the urgers volunteering at least to do some donkey work. This is not uncommon, sadly, in most walks of life. "My idea now somebody else do it!"

Mark Alexander

21:29 PM, 15th September 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 15/09/2018 - 21:17
Spot on Richard!

To start an organisation to achieve what landlords want/need would require several 10's of millions of seed capital and a good CEO would want upwards of £500,000 a year plus bonusses.

Just to be absolutely clear, even if that is ever achieved, I will not be applying for the job. My family, my friends and my sunbed are far more important to me than any amount of money.

Larry Sweeney

10:11 AM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

I agree with both Mark and Richard. To set up such an organisation would be a massive task , apart from the seed capital also in terms of time etc. We all have lives. Having said that I have some infastructure in place ,Office Comms etc.
My concern is Landlord apathy. How quick could we get landlords to take up membership. I remember speaking to Carolyn Uphill from the NLA some time back and she could not understand why they could not get numbers much above 60k out of over 1.5 million landlords.

Mark Alexander

10:38 AM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 16/09/2018 - 10:11
His Larry

I don’t think the NLA actually have ‘60,000 paying’ members do they?

The only way I can see it working is for mortgage lenders, letting agents, deposit protection schemes and insurance companies to insist on membership. Persuading them to to that would be incredibly difficult though, because they would feel they would be giving a commercial advantage to compete who do not have such rules to doing business with them.

If they did, and every landlord had to pay just £10 a year for membership, that would produce a huge budget with which to lobby and influence Government and it would benefit all parties, not just landlords.

Just imagine if 10’s of million of funding was available to fight the following:-

S24
Selective licensing
PRA lending regulations
The ban on tenant fees
The new HMO rules
Etc, etc.

Gromit

10:49 AM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 16/09/2018 - 10:38Last week Richard Lambert claimed the NLA had 39,000 paying members, and a gross income of £4.1m last year

Larry Sweeney

10:51 AM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

Hi Mark.
They claim to have approx 60k and the RLA approx 20k. I would envisage a £90 membership fee. This is similar to NLA/RLA fees. As you said a fund would be built to fight issues such as Sect 24 and to Lobby etc. From the outset I would make it clear that no courses would be sold nor would the organisation under any circumstances get into bed with councils to assist them with schemes which are to the detriment of landlords. The nonsense of having landlord meetings and the council being invited as The NLA have done is pure garbage.

Mark Alexander

11:30 AM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 16/09/2018 - 10:51
Hi Larry

Have you read my suggestions?

I will add to them.

I would want the Board of Directors to be voted in annually by all members. Only representatives seconded by lenders, large agents, insurance companies and deposit protection providers could stand for election. The reason I say this is that it would prevent individuals with other personal grievances from standing for election.

The organisation would need to be not for profit and the organisation sponsoring the Director would be able to expense their salary back to the landlords union, or whatever it is called.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this over the years but I’m at a stage in life which doesn’t suit me to pursue this any further.

Larry Sweeney

13:16 PM, 16th September 2018
About A year ago

Hi Mark,
My vision initially would differ slightly. As the organisation grew ,those options could be revisited. Look at the NLA and their staff step up. Look at the wage bill. I would envisage a lean organisation with the founder as the CEO. The organisation could have say Cotswold Barristers as a legal rep and perhaps a number of solicitors around the country who could defend members against Council prosecutions. The organisation would dispence advise and keep landlords up to date on line. Another benefit of the membership fee would be automatic accredation meaning landlords could produce this to councils and refuse to be bullied in to paying for courses with the councils partners the NLA and RLA. Once we had enough members or Trump the numbers in the RLA at the very least ie 20k plus, nobody could ignore us.

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