Recognising a Residential Tenants’ Association

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) has held that, in deciding whether to grant a certificate recognising a residents’ association, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) has a wide discretion under section 29 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LTA 1985).

The UT noted that there was government guidance recommending that an association should represent at least 60% of the tenants who paid a variable service charge (qualifying tenants).

In this case, only 57% of qualifying tenants were members of the association, but these tenants collectively paid about 65% of the total amount of variable service charge for the building.

The UT held that section 29 of the LTA 1985 did not require a minimum percentage of the total qualifying tenants to support the association. The FTT had to decide whether to grant a certificate having regard to all the relevant circumstances.

It is interesting to note that, although the legislation allows the Secretary of State to make regulations circumscribing the FTT’s discretion under section 29 of the LTA 1985, currently no such regulations exist. Although there is government guidance on recognised tenants’ associations, this case helpfully establishes that FTTs are not bound by the guidance on the minimum percentage of qualifying tenants, and the FTT should take into account all relevant facts. (Rosslyn Mansions Tenants’ Association v Winstonworth Ltd [2015] UKUT 11 (LC).)