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

7:56 AM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 24/09/2018 - 07:20
P118 already has a union… The Landlords Union.

by Laura Delow

8:12 AM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Well I'll be knocked over with a feather. I don't recall this & as a result of your reply have just found it on the Property118 site:- https://www.property118.com/landlords-union-membership/
What have we been talking about all this time if a Landlords Union; "TLU" already exists?

by Mark Alexander

8:35 AM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 24/09/2018 - 08:12
It exists but to use it as an analogy it’s a mosquito and we have lost the will to grow it into something bigger. We tried and failed and have moved on.

The mosquito has not been squashed though and does cause much annoyance in some people’s bedrooms at night. The West Brom Directors bedrooms being the classic example and a couple of rogue letting agents who have seen to try to double cross our members.

We don’t know how to grow it into a fire breathing legislation eating dragon though, and we are tired and weary trying to do so.

We need a fresh approach.

by Whiteskifreak Surrey

9:04 AM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 24/09/2018 - 07:20
This is getting really dangerous, if Comrade Corbynov is going to be involved. Obviously a vote buyer. What is even more dangerous is the fact that Tories alienated Landlords, and lots of them are not going to vote for Conservatives anymore (us included). The whole picture, completed with Brexshit is really a very sorry one...

by John Frith

12:50 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

This is not my area of expertise, but it seems we are looking for a "Trade Body" to co-ordinate and represent all landlords and landlords groups. As we have no coherent plan ourselves, my first thought is that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, are their already any similar trades who have a working "Trade Body" model that we could learn from?

My second thought is that maybe all we need is some kind of "steering group" to bring together and co-ordinate the resources of P118, NLA, RLA and any other group that represents a sector of the landlord population.

by Mark Alexander

12:56 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by John Frith at 24/09/2018 - 12:50
I agree, but the rivalry between NLA and RLA is the stumbling point. We are happy to work with all landlords groups. However, they are all fearful and see us as their competitors.

by Michael Barnes

15:54 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Laura Delow at 24/09/2018 - 07:20
members need to write directly to the person at the top of the organisations expressing their disappointment and stating what the want from the organisation.

I'm currently drafting a letter to Richard Lambert regarding his abysmal performance re "No DSS". I will be identifying arguments he should have known and put for ward, including
- Previously, tenant and anti-LL groups have castigated LLs for taking millions from the public purse by way of housing benefit, and now they are castigating them for not taking the money.
- many "social" housing organisations operate a 'no DSS' policy, but they dress it up as "affordability" checks.
- By stating "no DSS" in adverts it prevents those with no chance from paying agents hundreds of pound in fees only to be refused later.
- Delays of many weeks in getting UC, and payment to T rather than LL, mean benefits tenants are likely to fall behind on rent; LLs are making a pragmatic decision not to risk it.
- Licencing fees mean rents have to increase, often beyond what benefits recipient can pay.
Pointing out that he should have been briefed on issues that affect LLs and that such issues are frequently aired on P118 and should be regularly monitored, Mick Roberts has a good grasp of benefits issues and Larry Sweeny has a good grasp of licensing issues including unlawful terms that NLA should be challenging.
And finally stating that if he is unable or unwilling to robustly put the legitimate position of LLs, then he should make way for someone who will.

If he gets enough letters telling him to put up or get out, then there is a chance that the organisation will change.

by Mick Roberts

16:20 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Brilliant point Michael:

Previously, tenant and anti-LL groups have castigated LLs for taking millions from the public purse by way of housing benefit, and now they are castigating them for not taking the money

They can't have it both ways can they.

And again u say:
By stating "no DSS" in adverts it prevents those with no chance from paying agents hundreds of pound in fees only to be refused later

Yes, they would be moaning if they was paying out for credit checks & the Agent knew they would be refused.
Govt will probably say We getting rid of Agency fees soon anyway.

And again u say: Licencing fees mean rents have to increase, often beyond what benefits recipient can pay
You've hit the nail on the head, I've had to give approx 40 rent increases out the last 2 3 months cause of Licensing & it's becoming unaffordable for existing tenants that have lived there for 15 years.

Yes us on the ground dealing with these people, we ain't politicians or University Professors, but we know the answers.

Eh, Universal Credit UC has now made it much harder for MP's to help their UC tenants by not letting the MP ring up for them & insisting it's done on the online portal. U couldn't make it up, these DWP UC idiots, now making it even harder for the UC tenant to get his rent sorted & Landlords are going to be taking them even less. If MP's can't even help the tenant, as previously, if MP wrote or rang UC, they'd get somewhere. What help is there for mere Landlords now.
But hopefully 'cause it's MP's that's affected, they may rattle some heads in DWP.

by Larry Sweeney

19:18 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Thanks Michael. I think a similar letter by you to the RLA would not go amiss. They both have failed us miserably. I have zero confidence in them, but I agree a letter such as you are drafting at least lets them know the strength of our feelings and the extent of their Abysmal representation and betrayal.

by Michael Barnes

19:36 PM, 24th September 2018, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 24/09/2018 - 19:18
I am not a RLA member, so writing to them would carry no weight. But if all members reading this write, then ...


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