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A tenant association is a group formed by many of the tenants in a building. There is no legal minimum number of tenants you need to start the tenant association. The tenant association is to get the tenants to work together for a common good. There are also no formal legal requirements, like a corporation or non-profit organization.
An association is used to apply more pressure to make a landlord provide services, make repairs, and stop harassment—and get the best possible home for the rent you are paying. A strong tenant association can force a landlord to listen; as a group, the tenants can have more leverage to negotiate, file complaints with the city and state agencies that oversee housing, get help from elected officials, go to court, or—if push comes to shove—call a rent strike.
What you need to do is call a meeting and inform all the willing tenants of the date and time. At the meeting you should have the sign-in sheet at the door. Someone should volunteer to chair the first meeting, and should give his/her name and apartment number. Explain how and why the meeting was called, and who the preliminary group includes.
At the meeting, minutes, either recorded or written, needs to be taken, both to keep accurate records for the association as well as to be distributed to all tenants, whether or not they are able to attend all the meetings.
Depending on the size of the group, ask everyone at the meeting to introduce him/herself. If you live in a large building and most tenants have come to this meeting, ask, by a show of hands, how many representatives there are from each floor.
At the meeting, ask the tenants what the problems are in the building, and develop short-term and long-term goals.
Most associations incur group expenses such as postage, copying, etc. Depending on the problems and the owner's response to your demands, the association may have to go to court which can entail legal fees. The association will have to decide how to pay for such expenses, either by dues, contributions, fund-raisers, etc.
Most tenants' associations function very well with a committee, and never adopt a more formal structure. If you have very complex legal problems, your group may need to formalize the association's structure by electing officers and writing by-laws. Remember there is no formal requirement to write by-laws, but written by-laws help your organization to stay focused, and to keep a formal organization with structure and rules.
I hope this helps with your question.