I first met Lynsey at the National Landlords Association Property Women awards and we got on immediately. She is active in all sorts of property projects, and so a natural Notable Property Person. Here is her story.
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
My name is Lynsey Sweales and I am the Regional Representative for East of England with the National Landlords Association. My role within the NLA is to be a point of contact to members within the region along with organising regular meetings and working with local authorities on housing and licensing issues.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
In 2000 at the then sprightly age of 20 I had only just saved up and bought my first house to live in, at that time I was totally unaware of the rental market and how it operated. I had been working for a marketing agency before I was head hunted by a buy to let mortgage broker to manage their IT and marketing systems. It was then that the door to rental industry really opened my eyes and it wasn’t long before I became a landlord.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
I am a very driven person; on personal and business levels I have crammed a lot in to my life so far (you only live once as they say!). I have helped grow and been a director of a national business, I’ve built up my portfolio of properties, I’ve done talks across the country to thousands of landlords to help educate them on how to manage their properties, look after their tenants and the longer term views of owning a portfolio. I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world, raise money for charities and now run a number of successful businesses alongside my NLA work. I’ve just re-read the question…. I can’t pick one achievement – life’s too short!
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Goodness, I’m always up to exciting things, never a dull day! From an NLA point of view we have lots of exciting plans, just talking about the East of England region I’m busy planning lots of meetings across the region, for the latest meeting dates click here. Our meetings are really important to landlords. Being a landlord, especially a full time one can be a lonely place, our meetings not only provide a communication method to keep landlords up to date but also provide them with an arena to network and share best practices.
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
Being landlord seems to have become wrapped in more red tape as the years go on. With so many accidental landlords out there it is very easy to suddenly become stuck in a situation of which you don’t know which way to turn. Sitting tenants, HMO licensing, it is a minefield, which is why landlord associations are so important to the sector.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
In the last 12 months I’ve found tenants want to stay for longer, unsure of their job stability, wanting to keep their costs down more people are happier with the flexibility of renting. By looking after your tenants you have the great opportunity of regular income for your properties. The UK is one of the only countries in Europe that have had the ‘you must buy a home to live in rather than renting’ stigma. With the limited range and restrictions of mortgages this stigma is slowly disappearing and we are becoming more European – with that comes demand for rental properties.
7. We have a new government. What would you like them to do for the private rented sector?
New government means change. The next few years are going to be hard for the UK economy not just landlords, a review of the current legislation in place, including LHA would be a good start to help ease the red tape.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
Social media is part of my everyday life in running my marketing business. Social media provides updates, access to information and a way to communicate with people instantly. The NLA tweet along with other key industry leaders like Rightmove and Sarah Beeny – any property news can be spread across the world wide web quicker than clicking the send button to an email.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
Check your rents have been received every month – especially in more difficult times like we are currently experiencing. Tenants are your key asset, they are living in your investment, look after them and they are likely to stay longer and more likely to look after your property. I have a very good relationship with all my tenants, I ask them to be honest and if they have any problems to let me know straight away.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
Join a landlord association and use the services they give you access to – the advice line, weekly emails etc. – you have so much information to hand there is no way you could keep up to date in the industry any other way. Although I’ve been a landlord for ten years I still use the advice line for queries I am not sure about.