South West Landlords Association is buoyed by a strong year
THE South West Landlord Association has attracted record numbers this year and significant local authority training contracts.
The organisation's year-end figures show membership now stands at 602 – which is 73 more than last year and a 12 per cent hike.
The SWLA, which is based in Plymouth, also has a stack of applications pending from residential landlords.
The organisation also now provides accredited training courses that have been adopted by Plymouth City and Teignbridge District Councils, which use SWLA services to ensure their private landlords operate at the highest possible standards.
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The contracts were two big wins for 2012, and once accredited, landlords have licensable HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and the benefit of a £60 discount off each licence fee.
Landlords can sign up to the training courses, the next course taking place on Thursday, November 24, in Plymouth.
Landlords who take part in the course will gain a national accreditation.
The course covers the basics regarding private rentals with training based on the national landlords' manual which includes tenancy issues, standards, employing agents, tax, landlord/tenant relations, noise and anti-social behaviour and management practices.
Accredited landlord benefit the public purse by addressing issues such as homelessness and anti-social behaviour, as well as improving tenant satisfaction, stimulating the local economy and assisting neighbourhood regeneration.
Alison Seabeck, the Labour MP for Moor View, and a landlord herself and former Shadow Housing Minister, said: "I am delighted that SWLA have taken this important initiative alongside Plymouth City Council to help drive up standards in the private rented sector and drive out cowboys in our city.
"Being a landlord is neither easy nor straight forward and getting accredited is a really good way to ensure you are meeting all the legal requirements and that the relationship with your tenant is well managed."
Iain Maitland, SWLA vice-chair, said: "We are always delighted to grow our member numbers, but this year the growth is particularly significant as it comes at a time when many of us are being that little bit more careful with our money.
"Membership of the SWLA benefits everyone in the lettings market.
"Tenants know they are renting from an accredited landlord, and landlords are able to keep up-to-date with changes in the law and learn from best practice.
"That's why two councils use and recommend our services – rogue landlords and nightmare tenants are the last thing anyone needs in this tough economic climate."