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Tenant organisations

If you are a council or housing association tenant you can play an active role in how your home or estate is run. There are grants available to help train you and develop the skills and knowledge you may need

Getting involved in where you live

This can be anything from:

  • organising community events or projects
  • collecting rent and service charges
  • organising repairs and maintenance
  • making sure buildings are kept clean and tidy

Types of organisation

There are two main types of organisation you can set up or participate in:

  • tenants’ or residents’ association - getting together with others to put views across to your landlord or organise events
  • Tenant Management Organisations – taking on the responsibility for the day-to-day management of your home or estate

Setting up a tenants organisation

Tenants associations are groups of people living in an area, block or street who come together to take up issues about their housing or immediate area with the landlord, local authority and other relevant agencies involved in running and maintaining where they live.

There are many reasons why you may want to set up or join a tenants association. For example you may want to:

  • find out other people’s views on important events that effect people where you live
  • get fellow residents or tenants together in order to get something changed
  • campaign for new facilities or against something happening in your area
  • organise events or promote a greater sense of community

There may already be a tenant’s or residents association where you live. Contact your landlord or local authority or look on notice boards around where you live, to find out more.

If there isn’t a tenants association in your area you could find out who is interested by organising a `fun-day’ or local community activities and spread the word about what your organisation would like to do in the area.

You can find out more how to go about setting up a tenants’ or tenants’ and residents association by contacting the Tenants Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) Information Service using the link below. Your council’s housing department will also be able to help.

If you decide that your group wants to take over management of some or all of the management tasks there are various stages to go through. You will need to form a Tenant Management Organisation (TMO).

Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs)

Some TMOs decide to take over most of the day-to-day management of their area while others may take on management of particular service for example: cleaning and care taking.  The majority of local authorities support tenant participation and will encourage and support tenants groups.  You may also qualify for a grant.

You will need to register your Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) with the relevant body as either:

  • an Industrial and provident Society
  • a Company Limited by Guarantee
  • a Community Interest Company

You will be responsible for running an organisation and be responsible for finances and making sure the organisation operates within the law. For more about what your responsibilities might be, read ‘Becoming a trustee’.

There is plenty of free help and advice available to help you as well as professional  independent advice agencies who can support you through the process of setting up and running a TMO.  These are called 'Approved Agencies’ and a list can be obtained from the Housing Corporation.

Case studies

Many TMOs have turned around their estates from no-go areas to safe and desirable places to live. Some examples of what can be achieved include:

Bloomsbury Estate Management Board, Birmingham
The TMO has set up an initiative that gives local unemployed residents an opportunity to work on the estate and gives training opportunities in real working conditions. 

Heath Town, Wolverhampton
This organisation oversaw a major conversion of disused garages and stores, into a sports centre, which it now manages. The new centre has brought new employment and leisure opportunities to residents.  It also set up and ran a community café from the council’s disused community centre.

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