Tenants' Right to Manage

Housing law in England gives local authority tenants a collective right to take on the management of the council housing where they live.

This may happen where a local tenants’ group believe that they could provide a better or more cost effective service, like arranging repairs or estate cleaning, if they were to have direct control of the money that the council spends on that service.

The ‘Right to Manage’ has been improved to make the process quicker and less complex for tenants who want to set up a 'tenant management organisation'.

What is a tenant management organisation?

When tenants join together to manage their own homes they set up a ‘tenant management organisation’, often called a TMO for short. Tenant management organisations, in different shapes and sizes, have been managing council housing around the country for nearly fifty years.

There are safeguards built into the law to make sure that a tenants’ group can only take on housing management functions if they have the support of tenants in the homes, and if they can show they have the skills and knowledge that will be needed to be successful.

What do TMOs do?

A TMO is a means by which tenants and leaseholders can collectively take on responsibility for managing their homes.

Those resident members of the TMO create an independent legal body and usually elect a tenant led management committee to run the organisation. The TMO can then enter into a legal contract, the management agreement, with the council. The TMO receives an annual management and maintenance budget to pay for the management and repair duties that they take on. This is based on what the council spends on the same functions.

The services managed by the TMO vary but may include day-to-day repairs, allocations and lettings, tenancy management, cleaning and caretaking, and rent collection. Any services that a TMO chooses not to provide will continue to be provided by the council.

The TMO does not affect tenancy rights. So council tenants managed by a TMO still have the council as their landlord and retain all their rights as a council tenant.

TMO’s may not be right for every community but they are one of many ways in which tenants can influence their housing. Success is more likely where there is a committed tenants group with a clear sense of what they want to do and strong links with the community they represent.

Find out more about setting up a TMO

Tenants who may be interested in setting up a TMO can get free advice and may be eligible for government grants to help them find out more, explore the possibilities and test support.

More information is available from the government’s Department for Levelling Up

To find out more about how you can get involved with your housing service, contact the tenant engagement and strategy Team at tenantengagement@chesterfield.gov.uk or call 01246 345147.

Other useful organisations

National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations (NFTMO) 

CCH (Confederation of Co-operative Housing) 

Last updated on 20/11/2023