Does anyone know how to set up a residents' association?

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yas
Tuesday 14 December 2004 2.01pm
I live in a block of 60 flats (privately owned & mostly buy-to-lets). We are having problems with Peverel, our management company, who keep doubling fees.

I was told by a friend we need to set up a residents association to get more of a say. Has anyone done this and can you recommend somewhere I can get the relevant forms etc to set one up?

Have left a message with the lease-advice org and waiting for a reply from them. Any recommendations, tips/suggestions or success stories would be useful! Cheers!
Tuesday 14 December 2004 2.16pm
Yas, do you just want your association to be a conduit of information to the freeholder and managing agents ?

If so, the simple answer is that there are no relevant forms or boxes you need to tick to set up a residents' association. However, in order to get your freeholder (and your managing agents) to take you seriously, I would expect you need to demonstrate that your organisation is representative of the views of owners in the building.

I believe the position is a bit different if you are trying to buy out your freehold. Lease-advice.org is the best source on this kind of thing.

There is loads of good stuff on the web in the context of residents' associations on council estates. The best I found on 5 second Google of "set up residents association" was this

Edited to say - have you tried engaging with your freeholder directly - in the past I've found it useful to bring particular issues with agents up that way ?



Edited 2 times. Last edit at 14 December 2004 2.18pm by Siduhe.
Tuesday 14 December 2004 4.18pm
Ho Ho, dont we know it about Peverel...they are the absolute PITS. The run our block (Metro Central) and the service charges are OUT OF SIGHT - but REALLY. And they dont give value for money. Get rid of them asap. To have a resident assoc. as we do, you have to get enough residents to agree - there is a percentage, dont know what it is but you as a lawyer can check - and then you have to formally initiate a residents assoc. and have minutes, AGMs, a treasurer and a committee and get people nominated to the committee and approved. After that you will have clout with your managing agent. we are trying to get rid of Peverel and go for self management, but you have the problem we have...too many absentee landlords who dont give a stuff as long as they get their rent, so it's an uphill struggle. Let us know how you get on
Tuesday 14 December 2004 5.42pm
Check out the managing agents thread that appeared recently.

I too have direct experience of Peverel in recent years - they bailed out of managing a scheme where the accounts were left in complete disarray and many residents were subsequently chased for money they did not owe. The suggestion in any correspondence was always that the residents were being dishonest - in every case it was proved that Peveral had made a cods of the bean counting - and no sign of any apologies for the stress and inconvenience caused.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 14 December 2004 5.42pm by janefs.
Tuesday 14 December 2004 11.37pm
If you want to get rid of your managing agents, in practice forming a residents' association is the first step (because if leaseholders cannot come together to do this, it's unlikely you'll be able to come together to exercise your right to manage, which requires the formation of a Right to Manage company. See http://www.lease-advice.org/rtmframe.htm for more details). Also, forming a residents' assoc. sends a strong message to the management company and the freeholder that things have to change.

There is a Federation of Residents' Associations that will give you advice:

http://www.fpra.org.uk/

Monday 20 December 2004 9.18pm
I would recommend you buy a book called Running a Flat Management Company. Publishers are Jordan. If you cannot find it in any of the bookshops call the publishers direct (0117 923 0600).

I have found it invaluable.

Good Luck

Alex.
yas
Tuesday 21 December 2004 11.55am
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments! Much appreciated. Will look into this and keep you posted on our progress. Currently, have organised a first meeting for residents and got quite a few people signed up so hopefully can get 50% at some point.
Wednesday 22 December 2004 11.38am
Along with the lease advisory service mentioned above, you should know about the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS... http://www.rpts.gov.uk/). There are only 2 ways to be officially recognised as a tenants association as I understand it; a) to have your freeholder officially recognise you or having tried that and failed, b) apply to the RPTS for official recognition. The advantages of being officially recognised are outlined on their website. They also publish a booklet explaining how to set up a residents' or tenants association including offering a sample constitution and the conditions under which they'll recognise your group. The booklet is available as a pdf file and the HTML equivalent is here: http://www.rpts.gov.uk/html/guidance_tenass.htm

Also, since your goal is to get rid of your managing agents, you have 3 options: The right to enfranchisement (ie, you can force the sale of the freehold under certain conditions) and the right to manage (ie, you can gain the right to manage your building even as it remains owned by someone else under certain conditions). Failing those two options (which are fully described at the lease-advisory web site) you can take advantage of Section 24(1) Landlord and Tenant Act 1987

Where the management of a property by the landlord is bad, the tenants are
not eligible for the right to manage and there is no other remedy available
to the tenants which is likely to achieve any improvement, they may apply to
the LVT for the appointment of a manager.

The LVT mentioned above is the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal which is the leaseholder arm of the Residential Property Tribunal Service. You'll need to establish that your building has suffered from "bad management" which is explained at the Lease Advisory web site on the page which explains the various laws and rights.

You don't even have to be a recognised Residents or Tenants association to take advantage of this law but you do need to document both the "bad" quality of current management and your attempt to deal with the current managers in a reasonable way. If they don't change and you document everything, you can get the LVT to make a judgement either giving your group the right to manage or another management agency the right to manage.

Good luck
Eric



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 22 December 2004 11.45am by Eric.
NJ
Friday 24 December 2004 10.42pm
Oh no! I have just moved into a housing association shared ownership property and Peverel are the management company. Are they that bad?
Sunday 26 December 2004 1.37pm
Yes they are THAT bad and worse. They are VERY slippery financially, everything that needs doing in your building will be done by getting quotes which (magically) will always be from Peverel associated companies (Insurance, repairs, you name it). Their accounting is so labarynthine that you will never get to the bottom of what they are taking money FOR, and everything they do is as cheap as it can possibly be, (painting, carpets, anything you can think of). They really are the pits
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