Starting a Registered Tenants Organisation (RTO)
What is an RTO?
A Registered Tenants Organisation is made up of people who live in the same area coming together in a group to discuss housing and community issues that affect everyone in their neighbourhood.
They act as a voice for tenants in the area they represent on issues such as:
- Antisocial behaviour
- Housing services and policies
Forming an RTO is also about meeting new people, socialising and improving your neighbourhood together.
Registration last for three years. After this period, groups have to reapply. This helps ensure that groups still wish to remain an RTO and that information held by Wheatley Group is still valid.
How can a group set up an RTO?
A group of three or more people can contact their Stronger Voices Officer or housing officer to discuss setting up an RTO
The Housing officer and/or Stronger Voices Officer (as above) can help engage local people and arrange a public meeting to discuss forming an RTO
The meetings should be publicised and aim to gather / obtain plenty of local support, taking on board the views and concerns of local people.
The Group will need a constitution and have elected members who can take on the roles of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. This can all be agreed during public meetings and the Housing Officer and /or Stronger Voices Officer (SV or HO) can help.
Once the Group is properly set up with a constitution, and elected Office bearers appointed a Registration Form must be completed and a Partnership Agreement signed.
The Registration must be signed off by either Loretto Housing Association's Managing Director or Head of Housing.
To register with Wheatley Group, your group must complete a registration form, along with a copy of your group's constitution. In summary, this constitution should include:
- The name of the organisation and description of the area it covers
- The aims and objectives of the organisation
- A list of office bearers and committee members
- A contact address for correspondence that can be made public (Name/email only)
- An equalities, diversity and inclusion statement
- How often the organisation will meet / where/when/AGM date
- A minimum number of people present for making decisions (Quorum)
- How the accounts are checked
- What happens if the association disbands
There are a range of criteria you must consider and meet to become an RTO.
1. You must have a written constitution that is available for inspection and which details:
- your objectives;
- the area in which you operate;
- your membership process;
- how your committee operates and is elected;
- how your business is conducted;
- how your funds are managed;
- when you meet including the Annual General Meeting;
- how your constitution can be amended;
- your commitment to equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion;
- how you intend to promote housing and housing related matters.
2. You must have a committee that:
- is elected annually;
- committee members must be required to stand down after a certain period (this period should be included in your constitution);
- consists of at least three members who can co-opt other members on;
- reaches decisions democratically (the decision-making process should be included in your constitution).
3. You must operate within a defined area that includes Wheatley housing stock and your group must be open to all tenants within that area.
4. You must have proper accounting records showing income and expenditure, your assets and liabilities. Your constitution must require an annual audited financial statement to be presented at your Annual General Meeting (AGM).
5. You must be able to demonstrate how you plan to represent the views of your members and local community and how you will keep them informed.