Setting up a tenants' or residents' association
If you want to improve something about your building or local area, you can join or set up a residents’ association.
If an association only includes people who rent their home, it can sometimes be called a tenants’ association.
You could get support from the council or your housing association if you rent from them.
What a residents’ association is
A residents’ association is a group who work together to improve their local area. An association can:
challenge antisocial behaviour
represent views to a landlord
protest against planned developments
campaign for shared community spaces, like play parks or shared gardens
Who can set up a residents’ association
Any group of 3 or more people can set up a residents’ association. Usually membership is for people who are 16 or over.
An association can include people who:
rent from a private landlord or letting agent
rent from the council or a housing association
own their home
They can be people who either:
live in the same tenement or block of flats
live in the same street, estate or local area
have the same landlord
Check if there’s already an association in your area
Check local notice boards in places like libraries or community centres. You can also check on local social media groups.
If you rent from the council or a housing association, ask them if there is a tenants’ association you can join.
If there’s not, you can set one up yourself.
How to set up a residents’ association
Arrange a public meeting. Advertise it locally, in places like:
local groups on social media
Decisions you'll need to make
At your first meeting you should decide on:
the aims of your association
criteria for membership
what geographical area you’ll cover
where you’ll hold meetings and how often
Once you agree on these things, write them in a document and sign it. This is sometimes called a constitution. It should show that your association is:
accountable to the members
open to everyone in the community
Who to include
At your first meeting, establish a committee. This should include:
a chair, who’ll lead the meetings
a treasurer, who’ll handle money
a secretary, who’ll tell members about meetings and association business
Ask people for nominations then hold a vote to elect each role.
Encourage people to get involved
It’s important everyone feels included, so that you properly represent your community. Try to:
arrange meetings at a time that suits most people
let everyone express their opinion and respect their views
challenge discriminatory language, such as racist or sexist comments
provide an interpreter for anyone who needs it
Check if you can get funding
Some councils provide funding for community groups. Contact your council and ask what’s available.
Working with the council or a housing association
If your association includes tenants of a council or housing association, you can choose to register your association with them.
If you register, the council or housing association must consult you on:
changes to their management policies
Before you can register
Usually your association will need to:
have members that rent from that council or housing association
have a publicly available constitution
keep proper accounting records
properly represent the views and interests of your members
Your local council usually has a tenant participation officer. They can help you get your association ready to register.
If your registration is refused
If the council or a housing association refuse to register your association, you can appeal.
You should get information about the appeals process when you apply.
If your appeal is unsuccessful, you can appeal to the Scottish Housing Regulator. For advice or help appealing a decision, contact the Tenants Information Service.
Last updated: 17 March 2023