How to Set Up a Residents Committee.- A guide from Assetsure
How to Set Up a Residents Committee.- A residents association is less formally constructed than an official management company and usually consist of all or some of the residents of a block of flats, who group together in an ad hoc fashion as a vehicle to discuss matters pertaining to the block with the landlord. Residents Associations, do not normally have any legal status and as such, the landlord or his official representative( usually a flat management company) will not be obliged to consult or deal with such a body. However, most landlords recognise the fact that dealing with a single representative of a block who represents the general opinions of the flats in the block is far easier than dealing with the residents on an individual basis. A single voice representing the leaseholders is also likely to receive a better hearing If the block has not yet become enfranchised, then forming a residents association makes good sense. Many leaseholders that are hoping to achieve enfranchisement, find that setting up an association can also help in the process, it is seen as a first step. Blocks that have achieved enfranchisement do not normally need an extra layer of administration as the flat owners are already part of the decision making process. Residents Associations can carry out a number of important tasks including the following:
- They can help ensure that the landlord or his agent carry out regular inspections of the building, this will help ensure that the building remains well maintained. This can help minimise repair cost and should allow owners to keep a close check on up keep costs.
- They can arrange to meet with the landlord on a regular basis, to discuss the needs of the residents and raise any participial concerns. They can them help settle any individual disputes with the landlord
- They can request that they be consulted before any major work is undertaken. They can also apply to make sure that any service charges are reasonable./
Residents Associations are fairly easy to set up and initially a letter should be sent to all owners outlying the aims of the Association and requesting feed back on who would join the association. In the letter, it’s a good idea to stress the history of the building, any previous problems and why setting up a residents association would be a good idea. At this stage you can ask for nominations for the position of chairperson and secretary. Some people naturally, take a more active roll in the management of the building and you may find that a number of people will put themselves forward once the idea of forming an association is muted. In practise, most people view the setting up of an association as a good idea, any proposals to help reduce landlord service costs are always well received. The FPRA ( Federation of Private Residents Association) who are non profit making can help to guide you through the set up process. They do have a subscription fee but can provide many helpful guides. In essence, once agreement has been reached to form an association, a subscription amount should be agreed on to cover expenses related to the running of the association.. A secretary will have to be appointed to keep details of meeting etc. As the purpose of the association will be to deal with the landlord, it’s important to agree on a well defined constitution, if you are apply to the landlord for official recognition, it is more likely to be given if the association appears to be well constructed and managed.