Landlord Advice – As is the case in most ventures, help and advice from within the trade or profession one has earmarked to make a living in, can be invaluable. Although it is inevitable that stepping into a new project is bound to be fraught with anxieties and tensions, inside knowledge can help you avoid many pitfalls and so save both time and energy, not to mention money.
This applies to the prospective residential landlord as much as any other business. From the very outset there is support at hand in the shape of a non profit organisation called the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The organisation operates throughout England and Wales and offers a wealth of support to anyone new to the business. It regards one of its prime objectives as being a campaigning organisation for those that make their living in the private rental sector.
The RLA gives support, advice and also markets most of the products the new landlord will require. For instance; they provide a tenant referencing scheme, a service for landlords to purchase the obligatory Energy Performance Certificate, a free (to members) property manager software pack, a tenant credit check facility and tips on tax management.
They also provide a free help desk, a comprehensive supplier’s guide that lists businesses with expertise in everything from accountancy to woodworm. Buy to let mortgages and a facility to match landlords with tenants are other features available as is the opportunity to buy cheap landlord insurance. The RLA also provides a news desk, which provides up to the minute information about the sector and also online learning courses as well as localised workshops.
The RLA offers three distinct types of membership; Landlord membership, this is aimed at the individual landlord but also gives membership to his civil or business partner. Corporate membership, this targets limited companies, partnerships or sole traders with employees. The final option is Associate membership which is designed for local councils, and enables them to input ideas and advice to improve the relationship between tenant and landlord.
At the moment the RLA has in excess of 8000 members who between them have a portfolio of over 150,000 properties. The organisation was created in 1998 and was in fact the very first national representative of landlords. The current chairman is Alan Ward.