Leading Lawyer is new RLA Policy Chief

Written by RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has appointed leading housing lawyer, David Smith, as its new policy director. He succeeds respected and long-standing RLA board member Richard Jones, who will continue as company secretary…

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has appointed leading housing lawyer, David Smith, as its new policy director.  He succeeds respected and long-standing RLA board member Richard Jones, who will continue as company secretary.

David specialises in landlord and tenant law, particularly in the residential sector.  He deals with civil claims such as possession actions against tenants at all levels from the county courts to the Supreme Court; actions in the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals contesting decisions of local authorities, and defending landlords and agents from prosecution in relation to property matters.  His RLA appointment is a personal position, although he will remain a practising solicitor and partner at Anthony Golds.

David has written and spoken extensively on landlord and tenant law and is particularly known for his work on the Housing Act 2004.  He has advised at all levels from landlords and agents to tenancy deposit protection schemes, local authorities, and landlord and lettings agent’s representative bodies.  Most recently, he served as an expert advisor to the Welsh Assembly Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee for its stage 1 consideration of the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill.

Welcoming the appointment, RLA Chairman, Alan Ward said:

“David Smith is a recognised expert in residential landlord and tenant law, with a particular focus on changes in the law.  He is well known across the sector for his work on tenancy deposit protection, and houses in multiple occupation, and a regular contributor to conferences, the media and landlord forums.  At a time of considerable change for the private rented sector, David’s experience and knowledge will be invaluable in guiding RLA policy and making representation to all levels of government.”

David Smith added:

“I am delighted to join the RLA.  With a new housing bill proposed and major changes to the tax regime, it is a challenging time for landlords.   Private renting is crucial to meeting Britain’s housing need and supporting the flexible workforce the economy demands.  However, as it continues to grow, it comes under greater levels of scrutiny.  I look forward to leading the RLA’s policy work, to secure the best possible outcomes for our members, and the private rented sector in general.”

Alan Ward also paid tribute to outgoing policy director, Richard Jones:

“Richard has made an immense contribution, influencing policymakers and standing up for landlords for many years.  Widely respected across the sector, he has played a key role in establishing the RLA as the leading campaign organisation for the private rented sector.  I thank Richard for his work, and am pleased the RLA will be able to continue to benefit from his experience, continues as an RLA consultant and company secretary.”

About the author



The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.


  • The appointment of David Smith would seem to be very timely as I believe we are in great need of legal representation following the discriminatory Budget proposal, which singled out private landlords (not limited companies; not other people running businesses on a self-employed basis – just private landlords) for a ‘tax on turnover’. The introduction of this pernicious new tax regime whereby we can be taxed on non-income and whereby we have to record a fictitious amount as our ‘income’, while our ‘actual income’ is deemed irrelevant, is going to send landlords spiralling into debt and bankruptcy if it is not halted before it becomes law. I would like to know what David can do about this. I am not a lawyer, but maybe a starting point is discrimination law, tax law, the Human Rights Act, especially as it relates to property and also employment law and constructive dismissal – as landlords would gradually and constructively be dismissed from our jobs….

  • Very interesting….can we have an update of this article?or maybe someone from your team can give us some updates regarding policy changes!

    Thank you!

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