Property118 Action Group are raising working capital to promote membership to all UK private housing providers (buy-to-let landlords)
Private housing providers (buy-to-let landlords) often lack the experience and finances to defend their rights. Property118 Action Group Limited offers them a unique and powerful umbrella at a very reasonable price.
Property118 Action Group is not insurance based, it is more akin to a Union which utilises members funds to protect and fight for the rights of its members. It will not provide legal services but will procure them using members funds where necessary.
Successes in the Courtroom will enhance our public profile and drive an increasing number of landlords to seek the security and peace of mind that only Property118 Action Group membership can provide.
As many landlords have learned to their peril … when it comes to funding litigation against mortgage lenders or the Government, legal fees insurance policies are about as useful as a chocolate fire guard. Furthermore, trade bodies have proven they don’t have the necessary experience, finances or other resources to get involved in action beyond referring their members to their preferred suppliers of legal services, the authorities or Ombudsmen.
By way of example, in September 2013 West Bromwich Mortgage Company announced they would be adding a premium to the rate on interest charged on lifetime tracker mortgages in order to boost their own profits. The lender also issued thinly veiled threats, implying the mortgage lender could give borrowers just 30 days notice to repay their mortgages. A representative action case against the lender was led by Property118 Action Group CEO, Mark Alexander. On 8th June 2016 the Court of Appeal ruled the lender was wrong on both counts. Prior to that, the Financial Ombudsman Service had ruled in favour of the mortgage lender.
Having WON at the Court of Appeal, the time is right to expand membership of Property118 Action Group to all UK buy-to-let landlords.
We plan to incorporate Property118 Action Group and need to raise initial working capital.
The amount of initial funding raised will determine the pace of initial growth as it will have a direct impact on the number of cases we are able to organise and promote on behalf of members.
Property118 Action Group will assist to protect their members’ rights under the following circumstances:-.
1) Organising Private Prosecutions of rogue letting agents and other service providers
2) Organising representative action against unfair manipulation of terms by mortgage lenders
3) Organising Judicial Reviews of adverse legislation
Where action is deemed viable Property118 Action Group will not only organise it, we will also procure and pay for legal assistance, where necessary, for the protection of our members rights.
We may not always be in a position to fund all legal battles, regardless of their likelihood of success, but if/when we are short of money we are in a strong position to provide guidance to our members on fund-raising for their own cases, e.g. sharing costs with other members, insurance backed litigation etc. We have already proven that we are successful in this regard having raisied over £500,000 to take our case against West Bromwich Mortgage all the way to the Court of Appeal, and more importantly, to WIN it.
To raise standards from suppliers of products and services to the UK private rented sector.
To increase the awareness of the social and economic benefits of a healthy private rented sector in the UK.
To ensure that greater consideration is given to consequences of legislation affecting the UK private rented sector before it is implemented.
To provide an effective deterrent to rogue operators preying on private housing providers, not only with a voice but also with teeth in terms of legal capability and they contacts and money required to back it.
There are believed to be circa two million landlords in the UK.
Our initial target is to recruit 2.5% of UK landlords to become paying members within five years.
Regular members will pay £10 a month.
The reward for being a Founder Member is that a £600 donation is only the equivalent of five years worth of membership fees but provides lifetime membership. Furthermore, Founder Members will benefit from additional status and be permitted to display the Property118 Action Group Founder Members badge on their stationery, website, advertising etc.
Characteristics Of Target Market
The UK private rented sector is often described as one of the UK’s remaining “cottage industries”.
Private landlords are own around 4.8 million properties providing housing for around 22% of the adult population.
The PRS generally has become increasingly critical of trade associations for not taking up their legal challenges. However, these organisations do not possess the same level of experience, success and intellectual property as Property118 Action Group, hence the opportunity to unite the sector via this business model.
Reaching the market
Successfully defending our members rights will enhance our public profile through media based PR and reporting.
ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) were the first to agree to promote Property118 Action Group at their landlord exhibitions, by having roll up banners on their own exhibition stand and by encouraging their own staff to hand out leaflets to attendees.
In 2015 the Property118.com website had over 3 million page views from over 1.8 million unique visitors. The projection for 2016 is over 8 million page views based on the results in the first half of the year, trajectory of growth and the anticipated additional interest off the back of the win against West Bromwich Mortgage Company at the Court of Appeal.
We envisage spikes in new membership when groups of landlords feel they are being attacked. For example; in 2013 Bank of Ireland raised tracker rate mortgage margins and over 13,000 borrowers were affected. Many of them initially expressed an interest in legal action. However, when it came to having to commit substantial sums of money to fund legal action their enthusiasm quickly dissipated leaving less than a few dozen of the more militant campaigners with the impossible task of raising the required funds. Counsel’s opinion of the case was very optimistic. If each of those affected had only needed to commit to paying £10 a month the position might have been very different, as would the level of media attention on the case as it progressed through the judicial system. The Bank of Ireland case is likely to be one of the first we will seek to fund on behalf of our members, providing a sufficient number of affected borrowers become members of Property118 Action Group of course.
There are also many examples of landlords having been victims of fraud by abuse of position committed by their letting agent where Police and CPS have dropped cases due to lack of resource.
NOTE: Where litigation based legal action proves successful the costs are generally awarded to the winner. In the case of private criminal prosecutions The Crown picks up legal costs once Magistrates agree that a trial is in the interests of the public, regardless of whether the accused is found innocent or guilty. In both of these scenarios the money utilised to finance legal action would be returned to build financial reserves.
We believe our exposure to the market and our success in the Court of Appeal will eventually serve to unite all bodies representing landlords and letting agents by forming alliances with Property118 Action Group.
We do not envisage any realistic competition on the basis that no other organisation has the same level of experience, success and intellectual property to operate a similar business model.
Several Landlord Associations and professional bodies in the letting industry sector have encouraged the establishment of a membership based Property118 Action Group on the basis we will be non-competing and providing a level of support which they are unable to offer to their members themselves. These include Scottish Association of Landlords “SAL” and East Midlands Property Owners association “EMPO” and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (“ARLA”).
Property118.com website growth – 1st Jan 2011 to 31st Dec 2015