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Recognising a tenants’ association – what should the proper approach of the tribunal be?

A recent Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) decision addressed the question of the criteria to be considered when granting recognition to a tenants association. The case is Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association v Winstonworth Ltd. [[2015] UKUT 0011 (LC)]

The Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association applied to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“FTT”) for recognition but was refused. The FTT based its refusal on the fact that only 57% of the tenants in the block were members of the association, as Department for Communities and Local Government guidance suggests that at least 60% of tenants should be members in order to be a recognised association. The Upper Tribunal found that the FTT did not properly consider all the circumstances of the application for recognition, and directed that, in particular, the following points are relevant:

  1. The proportion of the overall variable service charges payable by those potential members of the association supporting the application (in this case the tenants wishing to constitute the association paid 65% of the service charges between them);
  2. It should not be taken for granted that any application for recognition by an association supported by less than 60% of the potential numbers should be refused; and
  3. Is there a history of complaints and apparent breakdown of confidence between the landlord and the tenants supporting the application (whether justified or not).

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