What is a residents’ association?
A residents’ association (RA) is a local group which consists of members of a particular area or building who have all been granted leases on similar terms by a single landlord. These leases must include provision for service chargers.
The members of the association represent everyone living within the area or building to an independent landlord and may request information about costs from them. They also support one another in the event of any conflict between residents and the landlord, or the agent acting on their behalf.
United, the residents have more power collectively than they would have as individuals. Residents’ associations therefore make it easier for members to have a say in issues that pertain to the rights conferred to them under the terms of their leases.
The association acts as a representative body on behalf of the lessees in areas of common interest, such as requesting maintenance, repair and other responsibilities associated with managing a property. Conversely, it also represents residents if they are opposing development or planning applications.
A residents’ association has multiple roles, but primarily it is designed for the purposes of increased transparency, better communication and generally improved relations between all parties.
Who can join a Residents’ Association?
Membership to a residents’ association is open to all residents whose leases include additional money as a contribution to their properties’ service charges. A service charge is defined as a variable sum of money paid in addition to the rent to cover the costs of:
It should be noted that leaseholders and sub-tenants who pay a fixed service charge are entitled to be members of a residents’ association but they are not allowed to vote. Landlords are not entitled to membership or to a vote.
Legislation for Residents’ Associations
The most important piece of legislation associated with residents’ associations is Schedule 19 of the 1980 Housing Act, which was amended by the Landlord and Tenant Acts of 1985 and 1987.
The main purpose of the legislation is to safeguard the right of residents to set up and maintain a residents’ association. To find out more about the specifics of 1980 Housing Act and the Landlord and Tenant Acts of 1985 and 1987 and what they mean for residents looking to set up an association, see legislation.gov.uk.
Advantages of a residents’ association
A residents’ association, once recognised, has the power to request the following things:
- Information regarding service charge accounts
- Information about the landlord’s appointed managing agents
- Notification and estimates of proposed major works from the landlord
The association also has the power and right to influence their landlord in other ways. For instance, prior to any major work projects a residents’ association is entitled to submit details of contractors which the landlord must consider. The association is also entitled under the Housing Act of 1996 to appoint a surveyor in order to complete a management audit.
Further advice and guidance
If you need more advice about residents’ associations, there are many sources of practical support and information that you can turn to. The Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) is an organisation that provides advice, information and support regarding residents’ associations both to landlords and tenants.
To learn more about residents’ associations, how to set them up and how they impact communities, please contact us and one of our team will be happy to help you. At Redbrick we have many years of experience in residential property management and are well placed to provide you with expert guidance.