The Residential Landlords Association has formed a three-man team of environmental health and housing consultants to strengthen its work with local and central government.

[UKPRwire, Mon Mar 16 2009] The Residential Landlords Association has formed a three-man team of environmental health and housing consultants to strengthen its work with local and central government.

Dave Princep and Tom Toumazou join Neil Marsden who has been with the RLA since 2006.

Their work will centre on representing the RLA on local and national government bodies, discouraging over-regulation of the private rented sector and assisting the personal development of landlords.

This in the wake of more than five “tumultuous” years which have seen the introduction of landlord licensing, tenancy deposit schemes, additional fire safety regulations, a new system of housing allowance payments and a series of government reviews. And, according to the RLA, the number of regulations impacting on the PRS has increased by a third.

“The Residential Landlords Association aims to help landlords become better trained, more knowledgeable and professional,” says chairman Alan Ward, “but we have to work with local authorities, who implement the government’s legislation, to agree on the best methods of achieving that.

“Those kind of positive partnerships with local and central government are too important to leave to chance. The experience of our new team, with many years in local government and respected in their own professions, will help create the most effective communication.”

The Local Government Liaison Group of Neil Marsden, Dave Princep and Tom Toumazou will also provide business support for RLA members, help them to become legally compliant and assist the development of a growing number of local authority and student accreditation schemes for approved landlords, while driving forward the RLA’s belief in self regulation as a viable alternative to increasing legislation.

The three will provide local training, too, promote the association’s distance learning programme, address conferences, seminars and landlord events. They will advise RLA directors and members on legal, health and safety matters, respond to government and other similar consultation papers.

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The Residential Landlords Association’s first such consultant was Neil Marsden – an environmental health officer, housing and area renewal specialist with a 35 year career spanning four local authorities. He has three degrees, including a Masters, and a diploma in management studies. At Leeds - an early pioneer in landlord accreditation schemes - Neil developed and managed the respected Leeds Landlords Accreditation Scheme. And in 2001, in partnership with Leeds Unipol Student Homes, he established and was the first Chair of the Accreditation Network UK (ANUK) which publicises, promotes and shares good practice in the development and operation of accreditation schemes. As well as being secretary of ANUK, Neil is a compliance inspector and chairs an audit panel for the new government-approved, code of standards for larger student developments.

Dave Princep has worked in all sectors of environmental health including food hygiene, health education, health and safety at work and noise control. An honours graduate in environmental health, who also has a law degree, he worked for Wolverhampton Borough and Birmingham City councils before spending four years as an environmental health officer for the Bermuda government. Back in the UK he was appointed as a manager for the London Borough of Camden where his responsibilities included housing renewal, private housing policy and improvement. Dave was instrumental in setting up the successful London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, which he now chairs. This much copied model was the first to accredit good landlords and agents on the basis of them attending a development course. He also chairs the Private Rented Sector Group of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes – a government funded body comprising over 600 governmental, charitable and commercial organisations committed to improving home energy efficiency. A keen cyclist he last year cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats.

Tom Toumazou – who will develop the RLA’s national accreditation scheme - has 20 years experience in improving housing standards. He trained and qualified as an environmental health officer with Westminster City Council before moving to Haringey and specialising in housing renewal. He spent a year working on the landlord accreditation scheme at Leeds City Council. As a result of his interest Tom became the 2005 chair of the Accreditation Network UK and has recently established an East Midlands landlord accreditation scheme. He currently works as project manager for Decent and Safe Homes (DASH) – which provides an East Midlands regional resource for local housing authorities and landlords. Tom, a landlord for over 20 years, is also vice-chair of the National Housing Policy Forum for the Local Authorities Coordinating Regulatory Service (LACORS) and is a member of the Governance Board of the Universities UK Code of Practice for Student Accommodation.

Picture caption: (from left) Tom Toumazou, Neil Marsden, Dave Princep

• The Residential Landlords Association is a leading national organisation with members owning over 100,000 properties in the UK’s professional private rented sector. The range of members’ services - on - includes legal advice, insurance, financial services, credit referencing and training.

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