What are TMOs and co-ops?

There are many different forms of tenant management and ownership but all, broadly, are a way for tenants to take decision-making about their homes and communities into their own hands.

What is a social housing co-operative (co-op)?

According to the Confederation for Cooperative Housing, “a co-operative or mutual housing scheme has a community membership where:

  1. “those who live in the homes are required or are encouraged to become members” and
  2. “that community membership is able to democratically control the housing organisation in some way through general meetings of the organisation”

Types of community controlled housing organisation include:

  • Organisations that own residential properties, eg. Social housing co-ops that own the properties they manage and whose tenants are members, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and community-owned housing associations
  • Organisations that lease residential properties, such as short-life housing co-operatives, which hold short term leases on homes which are then let to their members
  • Organisations which manage and maintain properties for a council or housing association which owns them, such as Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs) and Housing Association Management Coops (HAMCs)

The Right to Transfer allows council tenants to form a community-owned housing association to jointly take ownership of their homes from the council. Unfortunately housing association tenants do not have this right.

The residents of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in Hammersmith and Fulham are currently seeking to use the Right to Transfer to prevent the demolition of their homes. Click here to visit their website and find out more about what is involved.

Click here to visit the London Federation of Housing Co-ops to find out more about social housing co-ops in London.

What is a Tenant Management Organisation (TMO)?

A Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) is a means by which council tenants and leaseholders can collectively take on responsibility for managing the homes they live in, whilst remaining as tenants of the council. Subject to a ballot and various safeguards, the Right to Manage gives council tenants the right to choose this rather than continue to have their homes managed by the council.

TMOs are non-profit membership organisations, run by an elected tenant led management committee. TMOs enter into a management contract with the landlord to carry out specified duties, such as caretaking, lettings, tenancy management and rent collection.

There are 116 TMOs in London. There are also several Housing Association Management Coops which were established prior to stock transfers taking place. Housing Association tenants do not have the same right as council tenants to take over management of their homes, something LTF members would like to see change.

Most TMOs manage small estates or neighbourhoods while others manage large estates of two or three thousand properties. Some small TMOs may rely on voluntary effort but most employ staff.

The National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations (NFTMO) is a great place to go to find out more about tenant management. Click here to visit their website.

Click here to read a case study of Godwin and Crowndale Tenant Management Co-operative in Camden.

Community Ownership and Management In Action in Westminster

Thanks to Walterton and Elgin Community Homes and Banyak Films for permitting is to share their short film.

What is a housing co-op?

Mick O’Sullivan, Chair of the London Federation of Housing Co-operatives, explains how housing co-ops do better than the big housing associations for tenant satisfaction and financial security.