As a tower block tenant, when you have a problem with your flat or building, you are usually encouraged to contact your landlord.
But if your neighbours are all experiencing the same problems as you, it makes sense to join together.
This benefits both you and your landlord:
There are two types of group you might want to consider. A Tenants and Residents group or an Action Group.
A Tenants and Residents’ Group is a group of people who live in the same community and want to work together to bring improvements for everyone on a variety of issues, on an ongoing basis.
It might also be called a Residents’ Association, a Residents’ Group or a Tenants’ Association. These sorts of groups usually need to set up with a formal structure and constitution demonstrating how the group will function and how decisions will be made. Members will likely be voted in to specific roles or positions within the group like Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
In Scotland, all social landlords must have a tenant participation strategy setting out how the landlord and tenants can work together to improve conditions. A tenants’ or residents’ group is a great way of them showing they have met this requirement.
This page from the Shelter Scotland website has useful information about setting up tenants’ and residents’ associations.
First you should check that there isn’t already one for your block, your estate or your neighbourhood
Some ways to find out are:
If you can’t find an existing tenants and residents association for your area, then you could set up your own. This document by former National Tower Blocks Network worker Mandy Wilson explains how to do that.
Once you’re all set up, let your landlord know that you exist. You will want to build a good relationship, so why not begin by inviting them to a meeting?
Action groups are generally independent, set up by the residents themselves and like the name suggests – focused on action! Often, their purpose is to campaign on a single issue (and they may stop existing once they have achieved their aim) or they may continue campaigning on many issues.
They might be very active, attending council meetings, staging events and running media campaigns, or they might just quietly have meetings and communicate with the landlord.
This type of group does not usually require a formal structure or constitution and wouldn’t usually apply to the landlord for recognition as a representative body in a community. The idea of a housing action group is to bring widespread attention to the issue thereby forcing the landlord to act in the residents interests.
First check that there isn’t already an action group within your community focused on the issues you want to tackle. Next, check if there’s a tenants and residents association for your estate. It might be worth approaching them first to talk about the problem and ask them to assist you with raising the problem with the landlord.
Some ways to find out are:
If there’s no appropriate group in existence, you could set up your own. This document by the Ledbury Action Group explains how to do that.
See our list of groups to read more about what they have achieved.
Tools you can use