Mary has been a landlord for over 30 years, and a member of the NLA for the past 15 years. She co-founded the Association of Midlands Landlords (AML) in 1997 as she has always believed that being a member of a landlord association should be an essential part of taking a professional approach to letting residential property. AML merged with NLA in 2007.
"You cannot devolve all your responsibilities to a letting agent. At the end of the day, if they don't get a gas safety certificate done, the landlord is the one with his or her head on the block. If you are investing a quarter of a million pounds of your money, you can't live in blissful ignorance of the rules, you need to find out from your trade organisation what you should be doing to keep your investment safe, sound and profitable." Before becoming an advertisement manager for Birmingham Post & Mail, Mary was a training officer, which influenced her to always insist on training and professional development all the way through her career. Now a full-time landlord and landlord Representative, she has applied this approach to the private-rented sector: "My feeling is that landlords who do a bad job do it out of ignorance rather than malice. That is why I am keen to get out as much information as possible to landlords."
Mary's rental properties are mostly in the Midlands. She has high-standard properties which are let out mostly to young professionals and finds managing her portfolio does not take up much of her time. She spends more of her time (probably 3 days of every week) attending meetings and conferences in her role as a landlord Representative, including representing landlords on Homestamp.
Having played an active role in advocating the needs of the private-rented sector at the national level for over 10 years, she is often invited to participate in government consultation groups as well as local meetings in the Midlands. "Often I go to meetings that start at 6pm at night and end at 11 pm." She says it is her passion, and as a mother of 2 daughters now in their twenties, says she has learned to be an "effective multi-tasker".