Last edited 04 Jul 2017

Tenant management organisation

A tenant management organisation (TMO) is a group or body of council tenants who collectively manage their homes. TMO's were introduced by the Housing (Right to Manage) Regulations in 1994.

TMO's are independent legal bodies which can enter into a formal contract with the council, known as the management agreement. The management agreement outlines the services the TMO has taken responsibility for as well as those that remain under the remit of the council.

The size and form of a TMO can vary. Some TMOs may be responsible for only a small number of homes, while others may manage large estates of several thousand. They can either operate as a co-operative body or as a not-for-profit company. Smaller TMOs may be formed of volunteers, but larger TMOs can employ staff, such as housing managers, caretakers, repair workers, and so on.

Typically, a management committee will be elected to run the TMO. The TMO is able to choose the degree of responsibility they wish to assume from the council and the types of services to be managed by them may vary with local circumstances. Examples of services managed by TMOs include:

  • Day-to-day repairs.
  • Allocations and lettings.
  • Tenancy management.
  • Cleaning and caretaking.
  • Maintenance of grounds.
  • Rent collection and rent recovery.

Community groups who are interested in setting up a TMO can seek support from ‘guide TMOs’, and look at the options for taking over management services. As long as council tenants and/or leaseholders have been independently assessed as being competent to manage the proposed services, they will have the right to set up a TMO. A secret ballot is held among tenants on whether or not they agree to a TMO being set up.

The advantages of TMOs are that they can often manage housing more effectively than a landlord, being ‘on the ground’ with the relevant local knowledge to be able to act quickly and effectively. Similarly, TMOs may work better with socially excluded communities, and can play an important role in the regeneration of a neighbourhood.

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