I am really delighted to have David Salusbury as my first ‘notable property person’. David is the Chairman of the National Landlords Association and is therefore a very appropriate person to start off this series!
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
My name is David Salusbury and I am Chairman of the National Landlords Association (NLA). The NLA is the leading organisation for private-residential landlords. We campaign for the legitimate interests of landlords by seeking to influence decision-makers at all levels of government and by making landlords’ collective voice heard in the media. We also seek to raise standards in the private-rented sector while aiming to ensure landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
Like many landlords, I inherited property from my mother who was a landlord on a small scale in Kingston-upon-Thames.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
I would like to think that I have had some part in creating a national representative body for private landlords that is run professionally and recognised as an authentic contributor to the national housing debate. In that way, the NLA could have a positive influence on the development of the private-rented sector.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
As part of our drive to raise standards we are developing a landlord accreditation scheme which will need no funding from local authorities or central government. We have plans for moving further towards creating one, unified voice for landlords at the national and – increasingly – at the European level.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
The central issue is how to drive out the rogue landlords while avoiding making life even more difficult for the vast majority of landlords who are reputable and honest. We must also bring cohesion and consistency to the huge amount of regulation affecting the letting of private residential property. In the shorter term (hopefully) something must be done about the lack of mortgage finance which is crippling landlords’ ability to manage their portfolios.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
It is probably a truism that investing in property has for many years been, and remains, one of the few means of accumulating capital in Britain. Given the increasing importance of the private-rented sector, I would say to most people contemplating becoming a landlord ‘give it a go’, but ensure you are up-to-speed with all the requirements. It may not be rocket science, but it is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly!
7. We have a general election coming up – what would you like to see in the winning party’s manifesto as regards the private rented sector?
Before any more regulation there must be a commitment to a thorough review of existing legislation to see what is no longer needed. We would very much like to see the Government persuading local authorities to improve their expertise in the private-rented sector and to encourage local authorities to focus their enforcement activity on the rogue landlords within their area.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
The NLA does, yes. We believe their importance should not be underestimated.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
That the business principles of courtesy, cooperation and cheerfulness are pretty good starting points for any activity. It’s not always easy, but one has to start somewhere.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Research, research, research. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge in letting residential property, join the NLA and make full use of the advice, information and support on offer. Then use the NLA’s benefits and services to the full to help you make a success of your lettings business. And do not underestimate the time and energy needed to be not just a good landlord but a great landlord.