Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

Vision for an independent organisation to represent UK landlords

20:18 PM, 16th September 2018, About 3 years ago 76

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* Suggestions made by Mark Alexander, founder of Property118.com –

Imagine an organisation with 10’s of millions of pounds of budget every year, funded entirely by its landlord members and acting only in the interests of its members. No sponsorships, no affiliations, no sharing of member data or side deals with any suppliers of services to landlords whatsoever.

For decades our sector has been contemplating how this could actually be achieved in practice, and how every landlord in the UK could be compelled to join such an organisation without any legislative change needed.

Support required

If the groups listed below agreed only do business with landlords who are members, this would mean that no landlord could operate without becoming a member.

  • Mortgage lenders
  • Members of The Law Society
  • Members of the professional accountancy bodies
  • Deposit Protection Providers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Letting Agents

In practice, this could be achieved even if only the three Deposit Protection Scheme providers where to agree to support the proposals, but the other groups are also needed to add balance and to unite their expertise without disturbing delicate politics in their own sectors.

The numbers

Even after factoring in a substantial number of landlords leaving the sector, a realistic numbers prediction is circa 1.5 million landlord members, each paying £10 to £20 year. This produces a fund of £15000,000 to £30,000,000 annually.

The proposed organisation would operate on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis and its sole aim would be to serve its membership of landlords only.

With the levels of budget described above it could afford to have dedicated helplines, PR teams, lobbyists, event organisers, regional representatives and meetings, regular member webinars and high profile social media presence.

The organisation would be staffed by its own employees.

Objectives and opportunities

Now consider the influence and power the organisation would wield, with 15 to 30 million pounds of funding every year, on issues such as:-

  • Section 24 restrictions on finance cost relief
  • The campaign to end Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • The campaign for rent capping
  • The ban on tenant fees
  • Universal Credit
  • The new HMO Licensing laws
  • PRA lending rules
  • Tax on insurance premiums
  • Compulsory Client Money Protection for agents
  • Funding of legal action (including Judicial reviews) which are pivotal to legislation and case law affecting its members

The PRS needs this to combat the destructive anti-landlord lobbying of organisations such as Shelter, Generation Rent etc. Their crazy ideas are being listened to but the voices of landlords and their supporting service providers are not.

Landlords Associations have proven to be ineffective, it is time for change.

Organisational structure

All Directors would be voted in annually by members and would serve a maximum of four years in every 8.

Directors would all be seconded by their employers from the sectors outlined in the “Support required” section above.

These organisations could nominate their employees to run for election as Directors on a secondment basis. If they are voted onto the board by members their salaries could then be reimbursed to their employers from the membership fund. Assuming an average salary for Board members of £100,000 a year, the cost of running the Board of Directors would be a drop in the ocean in comparison to the Budget.

One Director would be elected from each group.

The members voting system for the appointment of Directors would be online in a format resembling the following:-

Name Here

Sector
e.g. Tax, Law, Lending, deposit Protection, Insurance
Employer  [company
Salary  £xxx,xxx
Online Profile [website link]

 

UPDATE 2pm 18th September 2018

When I published this article I hadn’t considered Monopolies, closed shops legislation or restrictive trade practices or thought about running my ideas past our Legal Counsel Mark Smith before publishing. If I had done so, this article may never have been published. However, the subsequent discussion would not have happened either, so i think it is important that I leave this page up to facilitate further discussion and sharing of ideas.

So, where does that leave us?

It feels to me like we are back to square one of landlords being an apathetic group of somewhere between one and two million people without effective representation and an easy target for any Government authority to milk as cash cows whenever they see fit.

Anybody got an alternative solution they would like to propose?



Comments

by Luke P

9:06 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Annie Landlord at 18/09/2018 - 09:02
The NLA/RLA's remit *shouldn't* be confused...they've allowed themselves to become tainted by Government...or become greedy...or were always just stooges...

by Kevin Thomson

9:45 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

all sounds great Mark.

but I'm intrigued to learn how you will get the deposit providers to jump into line.

I take it you think they are the easiest to persuade of the interest groups you've identified?

by Mark Alexander

9:50 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Kevin Thomson at 18/09/2018 - 09:45
I have no idea how to get any of them to agree, other than through volume of people suggesting it to them.

The reason they are target #1 is that landlords can not operate legally if they take deposits without registering them, so if Deposit Protection providers make membership a compulsory basis for doing business with them the vast majority of landlords will be compelled to join in order to operate within the law. There are a few who don’t take deposits, so that’s another reason to persuade the other sectors to follow suit. e.g. insurance, letting agents, lenders etc.

by Colin Massey

10:32 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

This sort of professional body who would really act on a Landlord's behalf is desperately needed. I laughed to myself when a comment was made that we already have the NLA and the RLA. I joined both in a naive hope that they would prove useful. However when I needed advice they were both totally useless, nobody available, no calls returned. It seems that there main reason for existence is to 'sell' products and take in more money. I do have to admit that the RLA did do one thing very well in fighting against selective licensing in our area a few years ago. That guy alone was worth the annual membership fee so I still remain a member. Anyway Mark, lets hope your proposal gains momentum and we see an animal created who actually has teeth and is prepared to use them!

by Rennie

10:42 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

I will send this to my accountant, my letting agent and my mortgage provider , the landlord registration scheme in Scotland and the local authorities of the areas my properties are in.

I think all landlords should be registered and have no relevant convictions and I think licencing should be abolished. If I didn't have to pay an other fees to any other organisation I would be willing to pay £30 per year to belong.

by Dennis Leverett

11:34 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

I am an optimist but can't see most of those groups wanting to be directly involved because of it's "political" stance. They won't want to rock their boat and may fear the Government would start on them in revenge!!. I personally would not want to be told I had to belong to a certain group in order to get a mortgage or insurance etc. on letting property. I'm all for a meaningful body and would support it but it ain't gonna be easy.because most people can't be bothered, head in the sand. Only got to look at the low numbers that comment here and usually the same people. Why not do a simple poll of all 118 members and see what kind of response, in reply numbers, all Landlords not possible. How many actual 118 members are there?

by Ian Narbeth

11:57 AM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 17/09/2018 - 18:55
Hi Mark
We don't often disagree but I must take issue.

Requiring landlords to join this organisation or else lenders, insurers, deposit takers et al won't do business with them is monopolistic. It's as bad as saying you can't be a dock worker or a miner unless you join the union.

Even if you could get round that issue, having all directors up for re-election every year and serving a maximum of 4 years in 8 means that nobody (even on £100K a year) will get to grips with this million shareholder business before they have to retire. If you are not happy with the NLA and RLA, why should a brand new outfit manage to do what those organisations cannot? I would rather lobby to put some backbone in the NLA when it does not stand up to Government.

by Seething Landlord

12:41 PM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

This is tantamount to an attempt to establish a "closed shop" and would be a serious restriction of individual liberty to trade freely. I suggest that you ask Mark Smith to comment on the legality of the proposal ("Closed shops in Britain were made illegal following trade union legislation in 1990 and 1992: outlawing the practice of employers agreeing only to hire union members, and where employees had to remain union members in order to remain employed").
Best of luck trying to get solicitors, accountants, letting agents, banks, building societies and insurance companies to voluntarily restrict their customer base. As for the deposit protection schemes, Government approval for such a change would be required. It would make it impossible for non-members to comply with legislation.
It also presupposes that all landlords have the same views on the issues listed and that the directors would share those views, hardly likely in my view. A fertile ground for conflicts of interest - imagine there having been a senior employee of West Bromwich Building Society as a director a few years ago!
How are you going to establish what members actually think about all the issues? Will lobbying be based on the majority view and if so, how will this be established? Why should the funds supplied by the minority be used to press for outcomes that might not be in their interest?
Sorry, it's fundamentally flawed and not for me.

by Chris Novice Shark Bait

13:21 PM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

An interesting mix of views so far. A piece of kite flying born from another thread with perceived demand. If landlord registration and some form of accreditation by default was on offer by way of profile & demonstration of achievement or intentions; and not ridiculous counsel imposed fees; I can see how this would satisfy a perceived need. It could perhaps be another possible way to open up voluntary membership on a large scale. All we would then need to do is identify rogue landlords. Now if anyone has any suggestions how that may happen this could gain legs or even wings. My guess is they would wish to remain under the radar and so would not join anything. Bingo.

by Mark Alexander

13:34 PM, 18th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Hello all and thank you for your feedback.

Perhaps this wan't one of my best thought through ideas after all LOL

I hadn't considered Monopolies, closed shops legislation or restrictive trade practices and I should have run this past Mark Smith before publishing it.

So, where does that leave us?

It feels to me like we are back to square one of being an apathetic group of somewhere between one and two million landlords with no proper representation and an easy target for any Government authority to milk as cash cows whenever they see fit.

Anybody got an alternative solution they would like to propose?


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