“Being a member of a Residents Association gives you a louder voice, to let the Council know your needs”
Mrs Jean Coates, Chair - Selden Residents Association, Selhurst
What is a Residents Association?
A Residents’ Association is a local group, made up of local residents (tenants and/or homeowners) who represent the interests of everyone living in a particular area or building. They aim to work together to represent the views of all tenants and/or home owners in their area to help make their neighbourhood a better place to live. The Residents Association plays a large part in dealing with problems that people come up against, as well as organising things like social events. Residents’ Associations are set up for everyone to join. Membership is open to all local residents. Groups do not discriminate against members of the community because of race, age, sex, disability, income, religion or class. Members of Residents' Associations can be made up of people living as follows:
- PRIVATE (Leaseholders and lessees)
- SOCIAL HOUSING (Local Council & Housing Associations)
- MOBILE/PARK HOME
- HOUSEHOLDERS (Freeholders)
- TENANTS (Licencees)
Who can set up a Residents Association?
Any group of three or more people can set up an association. For example, associations can be run by people who rent or own their homes and who:
- live in the same street, close, housing estate or village
- live in a tenement building, block or high rise
- live in a sheltered housing complex
- Many have the same landlord, for example are council or housing association tenants or rent from the same private landlord.
In most tenants' and residents' associations, membership is open to anyone over the age of 16.
If a group wants to make sure that its views are listened to by other organisations they must be able to show that they are:
- responsible and accountable
- representative of the whole community
How do Residents’ Associations work?
Residents’ Associations work a little like a pressure group. The group may also help to arrange more Children’s Activities or set up a Pensioners Club. They can also arrange Social Events.
They meet regularly to talk about the problems in their community like:
- local crime
- promoting community spirit, tolerance and co-operation
- promoting residents' rights
- improve housing and the living environment
- inform all residents and represent the majority view of members
Representing the views of the group
Each Residents’ Association can select representatives to attend the local Community Housing Panels where they will meet with other residents, council officers and local councillors to discuss current issues of concern to all residents in the area.
Community Housing Panels discuss local Housing Management issues such as parking on estates, repairs, Anti Social Behaviour, Caretaking and others.
These Panels will also look at the standards of the housing services they receive from their local District Offices. The Panel may invite officers from other Council Departments or external agencies to allow residents to find out more about other issues, such as traffic management or policing, that impacts on Housing Department estates.
Community Housing Panels give you a chance to have a say in how local services are run and an input into how housing policy is made in your area.
Councils spend time making sure that their local District Offices are accountable, especially when dealing with things like repairs and empty properties.
As long as Residents’ Associations meet certain criteria, are run properly and are democratic, they will be recognised by the Council and will become part of the Council’s official consultation procedure for housing issues.
With many councils, groups that meet these criteria will also be entitled to an annual grant to help with running costs. On private estates or in private buildings, RAs can do much to promote neighbourliness and a friendly community.
Council tenants are their customers. To be successful they need to know what their customers want. Working with Residents’ Associations is one means of improving the services they provide. They want residents to become more involved in:
- Making decisions affecting their area
- Monitoring and reviewing the services we provide
- Voicing their views and making choices
- Voicing their views and making choices
By Getting involved you can:
- Tell the Council how you want the local area improved
- Have a chance to choose what you want
- Develop a better sense of community spirit
- Enjoy social events with your neighbours
- Meet residents from other parts of the Borough
If you are thinking of setting up a Residents' Association or want to improve an existing one, visit our How to set up an RA page
Feel free to use our Help Desk for more information
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