More powers for Recognised Tenants’ Associations
The government has introduced new legislation that is set to provide more powers for recognised tenants’ associations.
In the ‘post-Grenfell’ era, the government and long residential leaseholders are keen for recognised tenants’ associations to exert their statutory rights in respect of service charges.
Effective from November 1st 2018, the Tenants’ Associations (Provisions Relating to Recognition and Provision of Information) Regulations will ensure that residents’ associations can be involved in and represent tenants on a wide range of property management issues if they are formally ‘recognised’ to do so.
A tenants’ association that has been formally ‘recognised’, gains significant statutory rights:
– must be consulted by landlords in relation to major works and qualifying long term arrangements which are paid for via the service charge
– can represent tenants and advance their interests in relation to the service charge process
– can seek information concerning services charges claimed and costs incurred
– can appoint a qualified surveyor to advise on service charge matters
All qualifying tenants have a statutory right to ask for a tenant’s association to be recognised, but it must satisfy the requirements. Previously at least 60% of qualifying tenants in the building were required to be members of the association; the new legislation reduces that requirement to 50%.
New regulations set out the process by which a secretary of a tenant’s association may seek information concerning the qualifying tenants in a block. It also details the steps a landlord must take when seeking consent from individual tenants before sharing their details with the tenants’ association.
The enhanced rights that will come into force on November 1st demonstrates the government’s desire to ensure that buildings are managed responsibly; both by landlords and management companies. The new legislation is likely to lead to more tenant’s associations seeking formal ‘recognition’ under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, in order to scrutinise the management of properties and protect the interest of leaseholders. As such, landlords must be aware of their duties.
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