New rules in force to reduce barriers for Recognised Tenant Associations

Written on 28 Nov 2018

On 1 November 2018, the Tenants' Associations (Provisions Relating to Recognition and Provision of Information) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force.

Background

There are two ways that a group of residential tenants may be formally recognised as a Recognised Tenancy Association (RTA) and issued with a “Certificate of Recognition”. The first is that the association is formally recognised in writing by the landlord voluntarily. The second is that legal recognition is provided on application to the First Tier Tribunal.

The Regulations

The Regulations are part of the government’s wider package of leasehold reforms in England, and aim to address the barriers to the organisation and recognition of tenant’s associations via the Tribunal and to require landlords to provide information within a reasonable timeframe.

Historically, at least 60% of leaseholders in a development had to be members of a tenant’s association before the Tribunal could issue a Certificate of Recognition. There was no duty on landlords to respond to information requests from tenant’s associations and provide details concerning tenants within a dwelling who were eligible to join the tenant’s association.

The Regulations seek to address those points and changes introduced include the following:

  • The Tribunal must to consider a range of factors when issuing a Certificate of Recognition to a tenant’s association, including: how diverse and representative a tenant’s association is of its’ members and their interests and the extent to which the tenant’s association operates in an open and transparent way.
  •  Not less than 50% of tenants, being those who pay service charge (“Qualifying Tenants”), in a leasehold development are required to form an RTA to obtain a Certificate of Recognition. The previous guidelines requiring the Tribunal to issue a Certificate of Recognition to a tenant’s association comprising at least 60% of leaseholders in a development were considered to be a significant hurdle to recognition.
  • A mechanism is introduced to enable a secretary of the RTA to submit a request to their landlord to produce information about Qualifying Tenants who are not currently part of the tenant’s association, for the purposes of increasing association membership. The landlord must acknowledge receipt of the notice in writing within seven days of receipt and write to each Qualifying Tenant with an information form to complete and return within 28 days of receipt of the request. The landlord must respond to the RTA within four months to provide the information requested and/or notify the RTA if any Qualifying Tenant failed to consent or respond to the landlord. If the landlord fails to respond within four months, the RTA can apply to the Tribunal for an order requiring the landlord to respond to the RTA.

This article was prepared with the assistance of Adam Collins, trainee solicitor at Osborne Clarke LLP.