Better together – merger will give landlords a stronger voice

Great news for private landlords last week. The two largest landlord organisations in England and Wales, the National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association, announced in the press on Friday that they plan to merge.

The newly unified organisation will be called the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). It will have a membership of more than 80,000 landlords, who between them are thought to manage around half a million properties. That’s about 10% of the private rental market.

We think a single organisation focused on representing landlords is a great idea. The NLA and RLA do a huge amount of work in parallel. Bringing them together gives landlords a much stronger voice – something they badly need in the current climate.

Every single survey carried out in the sector finds landlords frustrated and despondent. Margins are being hit at both ends. The combination of the ban on upfront tenancy fees, the squeeze on mortgage interest tax relief and the threat of Section 21 being withdrawn is a serious threat to people’s livelihoods. It threatens to force landlords out of the market when good quality rental property is badly needed around the country. And all this is happening while our beleaguered buy-to-let landlords are still expected to provide the quality housing for tenants that successive governments have failed to deliver themselves.

Add to this today’s announcement that, if elected, the Labour party is considering introducng a right-to-buy for private tenants (more on this later in the week) and it’s pretty clear why landlords need robust support from a member organisation that can effectively represent their interests.

The stronger a voice that private landlords can have to put their case to government, the better – and we wholeheartedly support this merger.

The plans have been approved by the boards of both organisations and the new association is expected to launch officially on 1 January 2020, assuming the merger is approved by members later this month. Watch this space – we’llkeep you posted.

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