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It's no holiday for anyone...

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 What has the PDPLA ever done for us? 

I have been a PDPLA member for 20 (ish) years and my membership has taken many forms. I first became a landlord at the tender age of 22, moved to Portsmouth and bought local property aged 29. With hindsight I scratch my head and wonder what possessed me at such a tender age. No regrets of course, but looking back to the days of yore, I can see why I headed straight for the PDPLA signing-up desk. In 1996 there was dial-up internet (so you would go online to avoid that phone call from your mum as it worked down your phone line), amazon, social media and no property courses to sell you the dream. We all stumbled, fell or were guided into property independently and the PDPLA provided a rare opportunity to meet fellow landlords. There was also precious little to learn, a tenancy could be written on the back of a fag packet and evictions were…well...swift and effective (dare I say).

As a young person I found the meetings a little dry (no offence team), I attended fairly regularly until my young family life got in the way and my attendance lapsed. When I came up for air a few years later the landscape had changed and PDPLA was right there to get me up to speed. Every few months there seemed to be a new legal requirement, loophole or issue that needed addressing. The organisation today offers massive amounts of information, education but, most of all, the wisdom and experience of a group of reputable, honest and scrupulous landlords. Many are quiet but a few questions reveal a wealth of knowledge and common sense that the more vocal networking events sometimes lack. Be patient, watch and learn. There really is massive experience in the room.

Which brings me to the point of today's blog. You may have recently noticed a few changes in the hospitality industry, it has died. My 4 years running serviced accommodation have been massively busy and in early March I was plunged into a tailspin of inactivity. Having to put mitigating measures in place, deal with wholesale cancellation of ALL bookings for the foreseeable future, furloughed staff and applied for Government assistance (for the first time since I was 18) I approached every morning with dread and apprehension. What would I tell my landlords? How would I get through this disaster? How could I maintain the 4 families that relied on my small business to look after themselves?

I worked with colleagues to try to access bookings first from the NHS, but they had block-booked the Village Hotel so had no need, I tried seeking to help the vulnerable people displaced by the crisis but PCC booked them into the Ibis Hotel (not great support of local business there PCC) .Then the phone rang. It was a friend from the PDPLA offering a contact who needed to place key workers. My chance had come and I now have a survival plan for the duration of the crisis.

All that tea and biscuits, all those hours that I will never get back and trekking out to a landlord's meeting on a winter's evening have been worthwhile. I have rescued my business with a little help from my friends, even if it has taken 20 years to get to know you. Thank you, you know who you are.

So if you ever wonder what the PDPLA has ever done for you, be patient, because they will be right there just when you need them.

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