New housing developments through TMOs

Tenant Management Organisations (TMOs) are a well-established model for Council tenants to have a greater say in managing their homes.

  • A TMO can be formed by a group of council tenants under the Right to Manage in the Housing Act 1985 to take on responsibility for managing the homes they live in; from organising repairs and allocations to ensuring grounds maintenance is undertaken
  • The individuals that form the TMO come together to create an independent legal body, which is run by a tenant-led board. Independent research and evaluation shows that TMOs often manage their housing more effectively than their landlord and help to improve community spirit, quality of life, tenant satisfaction and neighbourhood regeneration
  • TMOs enter into a legal management agreement (typically, using the “Modular Management Agreement” template approved by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government) with their landlord and are paid an annual management and maintenance allowance in order to carry out the management duties allocated to them in relation to their housing
  • Some TMOs are now going further than managing Council housing stock, and are building their own new homes.  There is no reason why a TMO should not do this, provided that its governing document allows it
  • At least one TMO, Leathermarket Joint Management Board in Southwark, London, has established a separate organisation – Leathermarket Community Benefit Society – to carry out development of new homes, at Council rent levels, in its area

TMOs and the Councils they work with will want to consider carefully whether or not to create a separate organisation through which to build, if they want to go down this route. Key considerations will be:

  • the level of risk to TMO assets
  • avoiding “mission drift” in the main TMO organisation, and keeping focused on the core activities of the TMO
  • to allow for additional skills on the new board, where the new work will have a different focus
  • to allow the new body to focus beyond any geographical area defined by the TMO constitution


Leathermarket Community Benefit Society, Southwark


Last updated in March 2018