Why a Residents Association can be a real benefit

If you live in a flat, Yashmin Mistry outlines the reasons why a Residents’ Association can be a real benefit to you and your neighbours

A Tenants’ or Residents’ Association is a group of leaseholders who have been granted leases from the same Landlord on similar terms and which leases include provisions for the payment of variable service charges.  To be effective, a Residents’ Association should be formally recognised.

A Residents’ Association offers leaseholders a chance to maximise the benefit of the rights conferred to them under their leases.  In addition, should problems or conflicts arise between residents and their landlord or the managing agents, by forming an Association, the residents are in a far stronger position because  they can rely on the support of their fellow leaseholders with similar interests in the Association.  In other words, the strength of a well-supported Residents’ Association lies in its capacity for collective action and its ability to achieve a well-run block.

Typically Residents’ Associations get involved in:

  • Increasing the sense of belonging to a community;
  • Informing residents of their rights under the law and in particular under the Landlord and Tenant related legislation;
  •  Exerting pressure if needed, on the landlord or his agent to maintain an appropriate standards of decoration and maintenance to the interior and exterior of buildings, and at reasonable costs
  •  Establishing a relationship with landlord and/or his agent to facilitate good management; representing the needs and views of residents on management issues and report back to the residents the concerns of the landlord/agent
  •  Assisting in resolving disputes between individual residents
  •  Organising opposition to undesirable planning applications
  •  Preparing to take on responsibilities of management if transferred by the landlord under the Rights of First Refusal or Right to Manage Legislation or following the purchase by the residents of the landlord’s interest collectively.

Further, a landlord is also required to consult a recognised Residents’ Associations on matters such as service charges and management. Perhaps most important, a recognised Residents’ Association can require the landlord to consult with them concerning when appointment managing agents. 

The strength of a well-supported Residents’ Association lies in its capacity for collective action. This means that a managing agent can deal with one active group rather than a disparate group of separate leaseholders constantly repeating the same problems. A well run and supported residents’ association generally means a more cost effective block and one which is easier for the managing agent to deal with.

If you are a leaseholder, i there an active Residents’ Association in your block; if you are a managing agent  is there one in every block you manage?  If not…then what are you waiting for?