Process involved in setting up a Tenants Association
6. How do I/we start?
Often an individual or small group of people will agree on the need for an Association. This can arise from neighbours talking or from discussions outside the school. The following is a step by step guide on how to start a Tenants Association:-
6.1. How much support is there?
Talk to your neighbours. They may share your concerns and want to get things done. See whether they will come to a meeting.
6.2. Meet with a few tenants
Get together with a few tenants to discuss the issues and form a steering group. Find out who you can get help and advice from; contact the Community Development Officer and other Tenants Associations in your area. You can also ask your local Housing Office for help.
You need to decide:
6.2.1 The name and the area the Tenants Association will cover.
6.2.2 The issues you want to discuss.
6.2.3 What will be on the agenda of the first meeting and who will chair it.
6.2.4 The aims and rules of the Tenants Association. (See the section on Constitutions).
6.3. Work out your aims
Photocopy the model Constitution and discuss it with your group. The Constitution sets out the rules and aims of the Tenants Association, written down so that everyone knows what the Tenants Association is for and how it will work. Adapt the model Constitution to your needs.
6.4. Organising your first meeting (Inaugural General Meeting)
You will need to consider the place, time, date and accessibility for disabled people and people with young children. If you want a Housing Officer or local Councillors to attend they should be invited well in advance. The first meeting is important, as you will elect your committee there and agree the Constitution. Try to circulate the Constitution you have drawn up beforehand.
Try to get everyone to the meeting. Produce a leaflet for every household and put posters up in public places. The posters should be attention-grabbing, so that the news is spread by word of mouth among neighbours and friends on your estate.
6.6 At the meeting
Remember your Steering Group can only make recommendations to the Association. It is up to the members to make decisions.
6.7 Get someone to take notes of decisions made and what needs to be done (these are called Minutes). This person can also get everyone to sign a register of attendance.
6.8 The Chair welcomes everyone and takes each item on the agenda.
6.9 Discuss the reasons for the meeting and get agreement to set up a Tenants Association by having a vote on the matter.
6.10 When considering the Constitution, go through each section of it ensuring that everyone understands what it means. When you have done this have a vote to pass it.
6.11 Elections: any member can stand for the committee not just the original tenants who started the steering group. Each candidate should have a nominator and a seconder (in other words, two supporters). Nominations should be sought from the floor where a proposer and seconder are required.
6.12 All votes are decided by a simple majority of eligible tenants voting usually by a show of hands.
6.13 If your area is spread out, you can decide whether to have street or block representatives on the committee.
6.14 Agree priorities for the Tenants Association.
6.15 Agree a date for another meeting.