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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Tenants organisations – getting involved in where you live

If you're a housing association or council tenant, you can join with other tenants to improve where you live. Some tenants even take over running services like repairs and maintenance. Find out how to set up a tenant organisation and where to go for further training and advice.

Ideas to improve the area where you live

There are many ways you can get involved in how your property or estate is run. This can range from attending, joining or setting up a tenant organisation or simply getting involved in events and activities organised where you live.

There may already be a tenants association – ask your landlord or look on notice boards around where you live to find out more.

You may want to get involved with a tenants organisation to:

  • find out other people’s views –  eg what's good (or not so good) about where you live and the surrounding area
  • improve the services you get from your landlord – eg how repairs are carried out
  • campaign about something happening in your area – eg a major new road
  • organise events so that residents get to know each other better

Setting up a tenants or residents organisation

If there isn’t an association in your area you could find out who is interested in joining you by talking to your neighbours. You could also use surveys to find out what people think and organise an event to find out how much interest there is.

Tenants organisations can be informal, but some council and housing association landlords will only deal with resident associations that are formally set up. This usually means:

  • forming a committee – a group of people who have particular roles
  • creating a 'constitution' –  written rules about how the committee is run and what its aims are

Your landlord should be able to provide you with advice about setting up a formal group.

Organisations like the Tenants and Residents Association of England (TAROE) and the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) can also give advice and training.

Taking over the management of services - Tenant Management Organisations

If you want to take over some, or all of the management of your property or estate, you need to form a Tenant Management Organisation (TMO). For example, your tenants organisation may want to take over the management of the caretaking or garden landscaping services.

Your group can have different levels of involvement. For example, it could  take over just one service (eg the gardening) or manage the maintenance of a whole block of flats. 

The National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations is a membership organisation that provides advice and information for TMOs.

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