I’m a new landlord, should I join an association?
Welcome to the community! Becoming a landlord can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can be stressful, so you might be feeling a little overwhelmed now.
There are also various options when it comes to groups you can join, whether you’re looking for support from your local landlord community or access to legal advice.
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There is no legal obligation to join an official association, so if you don’t feel you need community support, you don’t have to find a group.
Which landlord association should I join?
This all depends on what you’re looking to get out of a group. We live in the internet age, so as you can imagine, there are plenty of groups to choose from!
The first step you should take is working out if you want to join an official association, which will usually require a paid membership, or an online community group.
Official associations are great because:
- They’re regulated. This means that you can rely on the information they provide.
- They’re one of the first with news. You know you’ll get timely updates regarding regulatory updates or available government funding.
- They offer reliable advice. Most official associations require a paid membership which gives you access to legal advice, should you ever need it.
- They’re the voice of landlords. Large official associations are able to take concerns direct to government and apply pressure on behalf of the industry.
An example of an official organisation is the NRLA, which is the UK’s largest membership organisation for private landlords, representing over 90,000 landlords.
A lot of landlords like the reassurance of being part of an official membership association. You might find this especially reassuring if you are new to landlording.
However, many landlords are happy to go solo – often without associations or lettings agents. This doesn’t mean that you miss out on the advice and support, as if you choose your insurance wisely, you will have cover in case of emergencies and access to legal advice if you need it. Our Rent Guarantee Insurance is a great example of this because as well as covering missed rental payments, we also offer eviction advice, should you need it.
Online community groups
You might decide that a membership organisation isn’t for you, but you might still want a community around you as a newbie landlord. You’ll probably still appreciate that community years into your journey too!
This is where online community groups can come in handy:
- They’re free. You’ll find a landlord community group on most social media platforms using appropriate hashtags. However, Facebook is one of the best places to find dedicated landlord groups. You can look for groups that are nationwide or dedicated to your local area.
- They’re easy to use and access. You can flick through updates to your group while waiting for a bus or in between meetings (although be sure to have healthy boundaries with your social media usage!). You can post a question and, if you have notifications on, you’ll get an alert when there’s a reply.
- They help you make friends. They provide a chatty online space where you can share your frustrations and offer your own experience and advice. If you don’t know any landlords amongst your friends and family, it’s great to have people to talk to who understand what you’re going through.
- A great resource for questions and advice. Especially if you’re a new landlord, you might really appreciate having people with experience behind them who can let you know any pitfalls to look out for.
- Also a great resource for recommendations. Looking for a new insurer or reliable tenant referencing? Ask your online community for their recommendations!
- There’s always a group to meet your needs. If you’re looking for a local only group, a group that’s nationwide or a group that is solely for supporting new landlords, you’re sure to find them online!
Our Mashroom Community Group is a great place to ask questions and get advice and recommendations from fellow landlords. If you’re a Mashroom landlord, you can also message our sales team directly via the group if you have a quick question, which makes life a little easier.
Online safety first!
However, while online community groups are a great bonus and will ensure you never feel alone in your landlord journey, they are not regulated the way official associations are, so be sure to consider the cons:
- Your online safety. While it can be tempting to overshare when asking a question or offering advice, be careful of how much you are sharing, as you never know who is reading and may use what you’ve shared in good faith against you
- Take advice with a pinch of salt. While it’s great to jump online and post a quick request for advice or recommendation, use this as a starting point and be sure to do your due diligence. This is not an official channel and you have no idea how qualified – if at all! – other members are, so use their advice as a starting point and do your research!
- Don’t spend all your time online. When you find like minded individuals, it can be addictive to spend all your time chatting to them – this can quickly eat into your personal time, so make sure to place limits on your online time.
Legal and financial steps you need to take
While you don’t have to join an association, there are other legal requirements that you do need to get organised or risk fines or loss of income.
Consider the following things:
- Make sure your certification is up to date. Before renting out your property, you’ll need a Gas Safety Certificate, an EPC and an EICR
- Make sure you have the correct insurance. Insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but can protect your investment, without worrying about dipping into your savings. Home Emergency Insurance will cover you in the event of disasters like fire or flood, while Rent Guarantee Insurance covers you in the event of a missed rental payment
- Check your property. Take the time to check your property for leaks, cracks and damage. This way you can assure tenants that your property is in good condition and assure yourself that you won’t get any emergency calls from the tenants when they move in.
- Test your fire alarms. It’s always a good idea to test the fire alarms in front of your tenants when they move in, so they’re assured that they’re in good working order – but make sure of that before they move in! Take the time to make sure you’re up-to-date on fire safety too!
- Organise tenant referencing. Make sure you have a tenant referencing service chosen, so you don’t waste time finding one when you have a potential tenant. It can feel like an unnecessary expense, but provides a lot of peace of mind for not a lot of money (our Mashroom referencing only costs £15!)
We hope you enjoy your landlord journey and feel confident taking those first steps!