Landlord and Tenant Review 19 (4)

Recognised Tenants’ Associations—Part 1

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This is the first in a series of three articles about recognised tenants’ associations (RTAs) exploring the FTT’s discretion in granting certificates of recognition in light of recent case law. The second article will examine the constitution of RTAs, and the third will consider the DCLG discussion paper and its outcomes. 

At the beginning of this year, the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) gave judgment in what was originally a rather innocuous case, Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association v Winstonworth Ltd [2015] UKUT 11 (LC). It concerned an application in respect of a small block of flats in North London by a tenants’ association who, having been met by an obstructive landlord, sought to obtain a certificate of recognition from the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) (FTT) under s.29 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. But the successful appeal of the FTT’s decision to dismiss the application—on the basis that only 57 per cent of tenants were members—has brought into sharp focus how such applications should be determined, and overturned a standard approach adopted for the last 30 years.

The case coincides with a major campaign—attracting cross party support—to increase the protection and rights afforded to long leaseholders. In 2013, the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and Carlex wrote to the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) proposing changes to facilitate the recognition of tenants’ associations. Following the Upper Tribunal decision in Rosslyn Mansions, and the FTT decision in One West India Quay Residents’ Association’s hotly contested application for recognition (see One West India Quay Residents Association v One West India Quay Development Company (Eastern) Ltd and No.1 West India Quay (Residential) Ltd , LON/00BG/LRA/2013/0008), the DCLG has issued a “discussion paper” to explore ways in which to make it easier for tenants’ association to obtain recognition. 

This was published in (2015) 19 L. & T. Rev., Issue 4 and can be downloaded here.