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Tenant Group Structure

What is the typical tenant group structure?

Take time in the beginning to work together and get to know each other before formalizing your association’s structure. You will want to decide what structure works best for you. You may find that electing a steering committee, setting up a few committees, and writing some flexible rules for the group to govern decision making  may be all you need to do.

What are the typical components of a tenant group?

Steering Committee (SC)

The SC meets on a regular basis to plan strategy and recommend policy for the tenants association as a whole. It handles situations that cannot be handled by the full tenant association body such as daily problems. While the SC meetings should be open to all tenants, only a designated number of tenants, who are elected by the association as a whole, should have voting privileges. The SC might be made up of the following officers and members.

How do we ask people to become members and do we need a certain number of tenants? 

To assure that your tenants association is the officially recognized representative body for the tenants in your development, you may want to ask tenants to sign an authorization form appointing the tenant association as their official representative. This can also be a way to raise funds to cover the costs of flyers, postage, parties, etc. if you ask for modest annual dues.

Your association will be exactly what you organize it to be. If only three of the tenants are interested in getting something going, then those three tenants will be your development’s first “tenants association”. Set realistic participation goals so that people won’t be disappointed by the number of tenants who get involved. You probably won’t get anywhere near full involvement. If you honestly think that you can get a forth of the tenants to participate, set that as your goal and be pleasantly supervised if you get more.

The first few members can get together and decide on some goals for getting more people involved and then work on a plan to expand the membership. Set a goal for how many people you want to come to your first meeting and agree on a strategy for getting them there, such as having each person contact a certain number of tenants by going door to door, phone calling, or passing out flyers. No law states how many people make up a tenant association. However, some of the new HUD resident home ownership and resident management programs require that a majority of the tenants participate to make the development eligible for some programs. Your local legal services office can tell you what the requirements are for each HUD program.

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