Former NLA Chairman, David Salusbury obituary

Article Posted -
23 Apr 2018

David Salusbury, the former Chairman of the National Landlords Association (NLA), the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA), and of mydeposits, died on Saturday 21st April 2018, following a short illness. He was aged 74.

He is survived by his wife Rosemary, his sons, Julian and Austen, and his grandchildren.

Early life and the Royal Air Force

David graduated in Modern Languages from Kings College, London in the Sixties and on leaving university he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force (RAF). Over the next 30 years he went on to enjoy a successful career in the RAF including active service in Aden, Northern Ireland, Germany, and as a military exchange officer with the United States Air Force in the mid-Eighties in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1982 David won the prestigious Royal United Services Institute’s (RUSI) Trench Gascoigne Prize Essay Competition, awarded for original writing on contemporary issues of national and international defence, for his work “Spain: The Challenge for NATO”.

After commanding an RAF Regiment wing known as the Rock Apes, and following service in Washington as liaison for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), he left in 1996 in the rank of Group Captain.

Life after the Royal Air Force

Keen to find his next challenge, David turned his focus to property, with a view to providing good, clean, affordable housing. An active member of the Conservative Party, he was also elected as Chairman of the Kingston & Surbiton Conservative Association between 1998 -2002.

David was invited onto the committee of the then Small Landlords Association (SLA) in 2001, at a time when the organisation had around 4,000 members, mostly based in London and the Home Counties, and just three employees, and became Chairman shortly after. The committee charged him to turn the SLA into a truly representative national organisation and to create a recognised campaigning body for landlords – a process already begun by changing the name to the National Landlords Association.

During his time at the helm, David was pivotal in building the NLA’s credibility and oversaw rapid growth in membership, passing 20,000 by the time he stepped down in 2013.

In particular he was instrumental in lobbying for insurance-based deposit protection for landlords and agents through the creation of mydeposits, enabling landlords to retain control of the deposit, and chaired the scheme from its inception in 2006. This campaign above all illustrated his drive and determination to press the concerns of his fellow landlords, refusal to take no for an answer, and his energy in overcoming the succession of obstacles that he encountered.

In order to grow the NLA’s profile he also built partnerships at home and abroad, including with UKALA, and with the International Union of Property Owners (Union Internationale de la Propriete Immobiliere – UIPI). He encouraged UIPI to strengthen its lobbying of the European Union institutions, and was the founder Chairman of its European Affairs Committee.

Remembering David

Richard Lambert, CEO at the NLA:

“Throughout his life and career, David Salusbury commanded respect. He held his beliefs and principles strongly, and was prepared to be forthright in advancing or defending them.

“If this led to controversy on occasion, it also ensured that the NLA reflected his commitment to promoting high standards in rented property and supporting landlords in every aspect of their business.

“Without his drive and determination, the NLA would be unrecognisable as the organisation it is today”.


Eddie Hooker, CEO of Hamilton Fraser and mydeposits:

“David was instrumental in helping found and set up mydeposits, with myself way back in 2006 and I will forever be in his debt for his drive, commitment and belief in both tenancy deposit protection and the ability of my team at Hamilton Fraser to deliver a workable scheme.

“David was extremely proud of his achievement with mydeposits and he and I spent many hours every week discussing strategy right up until the end. He was both a mentor and a chairman in the truest sense, but above all a great friend and I will miss him tremendously”.


Carolyn Uphill, Immediate Past Chairman, NLA

“David Salusbury was a man of great determination and vision which he used to drive the transformation of the Small Landlords Association into a truly national and respected organisation.

“I was honoured when he asked me to join the Board and proud to continue to build on his work when I succeeded him as Chairman in 2013".

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