Nationwide has launched The Landlord Works, a platform designed to improve rental standards across the UK by providing brokers and landlords with education and support.
According to the English Private Landlords Survey, published in 2019, nearly two thirds (63%) of landlords believe the industry had changed for the worse, predominantly due to the increase in regulation, legislation and tax.
A full suite of tools and services are available through the Nationwide platform, from educational resources and guides about rights and responsibilities, to tools relating to managing portfolios, time and income.
The Landlord Works also offers discounted access to a self-assessment tax solution.
Key features of The Landlord Works include a range of resources and educational guides to help landlords on a range of topics including legal obligations, property marketing and management, finances and mortgages as well as tenant support.
There will also be free downloadable content, including a checklist for starting a new tenancy and an A-Z guide providing tips and insights for those just starting out.
It offers portfolio management, designed to help landlords manage their properties and their finances.
This tool will help landlords manage important documents, such as gas safety certificates, electrical inspections and energy performance certificates (EPCs).
A 20% discount will be offered to landlords when submitting their annual self-assessment tax return via the tax software tool, and landlords will be able to use it to track expenses, income and get access to information they need regarding their tax obligations and options.
The Landlord Works also offers a rental, sales and property comparison valuation tool which will enable landlords to estimate how much their property is worth and potential levels of income.
It uses real-time Land Registry and property listing data to provide estimated value for rental and non-rental properties based on those recently sold in the area.
In addition, landlords will be able to upload details of all the properties in their portfolio and add any new properties.
This means they will be able to track rental finances and any key dates associated with each of their properties.
The portal also has a notification tool to help landlords remember these dates.
Landlords will also be able to use The Landlord Works to connect multiple bank accounts to their profile.
Users will need to reauthorise access every 90 days to continue using this functionality, with reminders given in advance. They will be able to stop using it at any time.
Paul Wootton, director of home propositions at Nationwide, said that the launch has been two years in the making, and is designed to improve efficiency for landlords.
He said: “Being a landlord has become more complex over the years due to increased regulation within this space, as well as further difficulties created by COVID.”
Wootton added: “350 landlords a day are searching for support online with their tax returns, which is why we believe the launch of The Landlord Works will be a huge asset to a large number of property owners.
“Many landlords keep track of their information in various piles of paper throughout the house, so this will benefit them as it enables all information relating to tax returns to be kept in one secure place online.”
Wootton also explained that while The Landlord Works has multiple features, Nationwide is open to hearing what else could be added as it plans to further its proposition in the future.
Sara Bennison, chief product and marketing officer at Nationwide, said: “The private rented sector is in dire need of reform, but to get there, landlords need to be given every ounce of support.
“Today, being a landlord is more complex than ever, and we want to make managing property more straightforward for both landlords and tenants, by giving support where it is needed.
“We know the huge role that brokers play in supporting landlords and we hope the launch of this free service will help with their day-to-day interactions with them, by providing useful advice, resources and guidance.
“As a mutual we are committed to improving the housing system and the private rented sector is a major part of that, particularly today.
“It is why we are working with a range of other organisations on the Future of Home and how we can collectively address some of the issues and make a positive difference.”
David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages, added: “Brokers and their landlord customers know that the buy-to-let market has only become more complex in recent years, meaning that they need to be on top of their finances more than ever to get the most out of their investments.
“The new site offers an additional tool for landlords, giving them easy access to useful online tools to help aid their portfolio management and a one stop shop of educational resources to help them keep up to speed with all the responsibilities that come with being a landlord.”
Greg Cunnington, director of lender relationships and new homes at Alexander Hall, said: “As one of the first major lenders to support limited company applications, The Mortgage Works has consistently been one of the most supportive lenders for the increased professionalisation of landlords.
“The various changes to the sector in recent years, such as the introduction of portfolio landlord policy and ICR stress testing requirements for mortgage lenders, alongside increased regulation and taxation changes, have made the need for a mortgage intermediary more important than ever.
“It is very positive to see Nationwide and The Mortgage Works strengthen their collaboration with intermediary partners even further with the launch of The Landlord Works, which we believe will be hugely beneficial to our clients.”