Following a recent Upper Tribunal decision, the guidelines for granting formal recognition of a tenants’ association have changed, and the FTT must now consider more than just the percentage of qualifying tenants. Brady Solicitors explain.
Before getting into the decision, it’s worth briefly outlining what a ‘Recognised Tenants’ Association’ is and why formal recognition is important.
What is a Recognised Tenants’ Association?
A tenants’ or residents’ association is a group of leaseholders who hold similar leases from the same landlord which include provisions for the payment of variable service charges. Collectively an association represents the views of its members. To be effective, formal recognition is required, either directly from the landlord in writing, or by applying to the FTT if the landlord is not willing or ignores the association’s request for recognition.
What are the benefits of a Recognised Tenants’ Association?
A certificate of recognition gives the association the legal right to:
- Request information about service charge costs from the landlord, including accounts and receipts
- Be consulted on the appointment of a managing agent
- Be notified by the landlord of proposed major works and receive copies of estimates
- Nominate contractors to carry out the works, which the landlord must consider
- Appoint a surveyor for the purposes of a management audit
There are certain conditions and criteria which must be satisfied in order for an FTT to grant a certificate of recognition. Generally, members must be paying a variable service charge to the landlord to qualify as a recognised member, and membership should not be less than 60% of those qualifying for the scheme.
In the recent case of Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association v Winstonworth Ltd (2015), the initial application for recognition from the Association was declined by the FTT because only 57% of qualifying tenants in the block were members of the Association.
The Upper Tribunal, however, quashed the decision after considering all of the circumstances surrounding the application, not just the percentage of qualifying members. It took into account the proportion of the overall variable service charges paid by the Association’s members (which in this case was 65%), as well as the broken down landlord/tenant relationship.
The successful appeal by the Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association means that the FTT now needs to take into account the proportions of the service charges paid by each tenant as well as the percentage of qualifying tenants seeking the certificate of recognition.
Do you need help to take control of your block?
If so, get in touch with Brady Solicitors. We are property management specialists and can advise you of your options as well as help with your application to become a Recognised Tenants’ Association if you are having problems with your landlord.