Firstly, I hope that you and your families are safe and well during this extremely difficult and challenging time, I think it is safe to say that the world going forward will be a different place for some time which will create its own difficulties, including within the private rental sector.
I wanted to take this opportunity to write to you all to explain some of the steps that we are taking to develop and grow the NWLA and highlight some of the services that will become available to you.
Throughout the Pandemic the NWLA has remained open to our members and I want to thank both Amy and Nicola for the work that they have done and continue to do behind the scenes to support this, they have both been working from home as we have adopted a remote approach and this has proved successful, they have managed to maintain the high standards of the organisation keeping members updated with weekly emails and have been contactable through the mobile numbers distributed early on. Memberships have increased during the pandemic as landlords have found themselves needing support to deal with the many issues that we have faced throughout the crisis and hopefully we will soon start to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
There has also been a number of other things starting to take shape behind the scenes, I formed a new committee who have been fundamental in supporting me to take steps to move the organisation forward and we have started to implement the following:
After consultation with the committee and the office it was agreed that the website was looking a little tired and needed to have an upgrade to try and streamline some of the joining processes and information available to our members. With help from Matthew Kendall, Committee Member, we have started to work with a local website developer who is upgrading the system and we will be adding a ‘Members Area’ where you will be able to log in and access information, webinars and other resources. The committee and office staff have had a photo shoot and will appear on the site so that we are adding the human factor, you will also be able to put a name to a face when we start with face to face meeting again! Don’t worry if you are not that ‘Tech Savvy’ as we will still be supplementing information via email and post to those who require it!
When the new site launches I will let you know!
Towards the end of last year at one of the Bolton meetings I was asked by one of our members if we would be looking into our own accreditation scheme for members as the Barlo Scheme that used to run through Bolton Council had been terminated a number of years ago, I was also made aware that we used to run our own scheme so I did some research surrounding this and found that a number of members, all from different areas, felt that they would benefit from being an ‘Accredited Landlord’ as it demonstrates a commitment to maintaining high standards and gives reassurance to potential new tenants, I also spoke with a number of local councils and they also felt that the idea was a good move.
So, with the help from Rob Pratt, Committee Member, we started the process. Rob has done a lot of research and networking relating to the issue but due to the COVID situation it has delayed the process but I will be moving this forward again now that some normality is restored, watch this space for further information.
Another idea that was received well was to create an information & marketing booklet that would be given out to members and also placed throughout the different geographical areas, it would obviously advertise the NWLA and our services but we also work in partnership with many other organisations and trades who have, after some gentle persuasion, (thank you Carol Tunstall) agreed to become sponsors for the organisation which we greatly appreciate, many of the sponsors have presented at the meetings so the services that they offer will be of benefit to landlords. We are currently working through the design of the booklet and in discussion with the sponsors and we will soon have the first design, I will keep you updated.
As the majority of our members will be aware we have had a successful working partnership for a number of years with Vista Insurance and I am pleased to say that, after discussion with them we will be continuing with this for another year.
If you are members of the scheme you will be aware of the discounted services that they are able to offer to the NWLA, but the success of this relationship also comes from what they give back to us as an annual commission and this greatly depends on the number of members who access the scheme. The commission that we earn from Vista contributes significantly to the running of the organisation, staff salaries and the many meetings that we put on throughout the year at the various locations which I am sure you will all agree are essential to keep us all up to date of changes relating to our sector.
We are now coming up to the renewal period for insurance so if you are already insured with Vista I hope that the renewal process runs smoothly and that you benefit from another year of quality, affordable insurance. If, however you are not a member of the scheme I would kindly ask that you consider changing over to them as it would be a great help to the association and you will benefit from a very competitive insurance package, I have transferred my property portfolio over to them and the process was quick and easy.
To initiate the process, you can either contact the office and we will pass on your details or contact Mike at Vista on 0161 804 1131, just tell them that you are a member of NWLA and give them your membership number and they will do the rest!
Gavin Ruben, CEO at Vista, has also completed an information letter for you that it is included with this correspondence setting out the insurance market for the next year and membership benefits.
Finally, I want to say thank you to the committee members and to you, our members for your continued support for the association. We are in a very unique position to have such a close working relationship with our members, many of the larger organisations lack this and to me, it is a fundamental requirement for the future of our association and something that I personally intend to strengthen.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
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