The UK’s two largest landlord organisations are to merge to become the biggest such body in the country.

The National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association will unite to form the National Residential Landlords Association.

The merger has been endorsed by both boards and if their respective members give the go-ahead by voting, the new body will launch on January 1.

It is claimed that the newly merged body would have over 80,000 landlord members, owning some half a million properties – about 10 per cent of the private rented sector in England and Wales.

The two chairs, Alan Ward of the RLA and Adrian Jeakings of the NLA, said in a joint statement: “After more than 20 years of friendly competition the time is right to create a single organisation to represent and campaign for landlords.

“With so much of our work done in parallel there are major benefits to be gained for our landlord members.

“We will be stronger together when presenting a unified voice to government both nationally and locally about the importance of supporting the majority of landlords who do a good job providing the homes to rent the country needs.”

The NLA dates back to 1973, while the RLA was formed in 1998.

Ward was a founding director of the RLA and has been its high-profile chairman for ten years.

Jeakings’ background includes three years as president of the Newspaper Society. He was also CEO of newspaper group Archant for six years.

The new merged organisation will cover England and Wales, but not the rest of the UK, and will have a regional structure.