The membership base of the RLA provides the Association with a voice loud enough to be heard in Westminster to Cardiff and back again, but you may be wondering: what does RLA Campaigns do. As policy and communications officer prepares to talk to landlords in Barnet for a ‘Let2Barnet‘ event we consider the current, and on-going policy challenges for RLA campaigns.
Membership is at an all-time high and the services available are better than ever. Coupled with new training courses and free landlord help guides the Residential Landlords’ Association (RLA) covers every aspect of what it takes to be a landlord.
However, it’s campaigning and lobbying which can really be the main support the Association provides landlords. From challenging central government, to working with local councils and authorities, making the lives of private landlords is the ultimate objective of the RLA.
Recently we have responded to the Budget 2014, identifying the highlights and areas to be aware of for landlords and those invested in the private rented sector. This comes after urging the Chancellor to support the ‘army of small landlords’.
The current and on-going topics for RLA campaigns include:
Campaigns are currently working on a few consultations, specifically Sandwell (selective licensing) and Aylesbury Vale (additional HMO) local councils. Generally speaking the RLA is against extra burdens such as licensing on landlords and have communicated these sentiments far and wide in many consultations recently.
RLA campaigns has responded to seven consultation documents from local councils in since the November 2013. You can view more information, read RLA campaign responses, and get more information through the RLA landlord News Hub. Click here.
Recently there has been a major success for private landlords in Milton Keynes whose council has decided not to go ahead with proposed selective licensing in parts of Milton Keynes. This is welcomed by RLA Campaigns and would welcome the opportunity to work with the council on alternatives, such as accreditation and tenant education. Read more.
Homeless charity Shelter recently published statistics to implicate landlords in the ‘retaliatory’ evictions of hundreds of thousands of tenants. While the RLA is keen to stamp out illegal and unprofessional practices of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) it is clear to the RLA that these figures are misleading.
Firstly, as Shelter has been very clear about, the numbers came from extrapolation from a smaller pool of responses to their research. Additionally, Shelter’s claims came a few weeks after the English Housing Survey showed that ‘83 per cent of tenants satisfied with homes’.
Campaigns have plans to continue this action to ensure that private landlords have the tools and numbers to combat spurious claims circulating the internet.
When proposals were announced that landlords would have to take up the responsibility of checking the immigration status of tenants the RLA were the first – and only – landlord association to speak out against these proposals. The threat of sanctions from housing illegal immigrants, and technical nature of immigration is viewed simply as an unfair burden to place upon landlords.
The RLA have been referenced during debates in the House of Lords and continue to engage whenever the opportunity presents itself. It was an interesting situation to hear that the Immigration Minister Mark Harper resigned over an illegal immigrant working in his home.
Elsewhere local housing allowance (LHA), benefit reform, and Universal Credit (UC) continue to perplex landlords. Thankfully, housing benefit expert and RLA trainer Bill Irvine is providing landlords with peace of mind. Most recently he has won back £9,000 for a landlord five years after a homeless tenant accrued such massive arrears.
If there is anything you think RLA campaigns should be working towards, please do not hesitate to email in: email@example.com.