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Cordata Co-op: Benefits of Co-operative Living

Intro to the project, Cordata Co-op and the nature of life in the house
by

Steven Pratt

on 11 November 2013

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Transcript of Cordata Co-op: Benefits of Co-operative Living

Cordata Housing Co-op
The Benefits of
Co-operative Living

SO what's Cordata Co-op?
What would it be like
living with Cordata Co-op?
You help decide!
Ok, so whats been decided so far?
Open Opportunities!
There are a few
jobs that tenants do
Sounds good, but what's the cost?
The first of many?
Quality Homes
Democratic Control
Quality Living
So,Why Live in a
Housing Co-op?

Britain has a housing problem: We need good quality homes at purchase prices / rent levels that everyone can manage.
Co-housing provides a way of living communally
without giving up the sense of security and privacy
which can come from having a place that’s your own.
Co-op members
set their own policies and
make the decisions

In primary cooperatives (like Cordata) members
have equal voting rights -
one member, one
vote
Cordata Housing Co-opeartive is the pilot project of The Co-operative Living Freehold Society (CLFS)

CLFS ambition is to showcase the benefits of an environmentally responsible and co-operative style of living in Manchester

The project has
two main aspects
that complement each other:

COrdata currently has a full house of total of
6 tenants

The expected move in date is
Late October

The earlier interested parties can commit, the
more input you can have
in this exciting start-up-stage of Cordata’s history!
As a fully mutual co-operative, each of Cordata's tenants' input is equally valued

This means that no one person can 'call the shots'

Instead,
decisions are made collaboratively
through discussion to reach a consensus agreeable to all tenants
We began by discussing what our guiding principles and underpinning values should be

So far, some agreed upon points are...
Joining the project in its infancy gives a lot of scope for creativity!

Some avenues to explore are...
Co-operating to obtain quality housing can not only provide decent houses

It also enables tenants to
manage and control their houses
.
Offers the
traditional benefits
of home ownership
without some of the downsides

E.g. isolation from living as an atomised unit in a neighbourhood where people don’t know each other.
Economic Participation
Members contribute equitably to, and
democratically control, the capital
of their
co-op

Members may allocate surpluses to:
Develop their co-op
supporting other activities
Maintain their house
Co-op Co-operation!
Cooperatives can serve their members best by working together through local and national structures

By existing under the banner of the Co-operative Freehold Society, Cordata from its conception is
already becoming part of the wider co-operative movement!
Ecological Considerations
Start simple
– start with little and see what we can live without - review after a couple of months
Make responsible choices
- regarding what items we do own, and how we use them
Thrift not Throw-away
- resource conservation to guide our living practices and purchasing habits.
Free sourcing, repair and renovation
-
of furnishings and other household items to pay consideration to their embodied energy
Communal Living
Desire to
not live in a segregated manner
that frustrates a communal living experience
Emphasis on
community, collective contribution, and sharing
Meetings to get
everyone's input
into the co-operative.
After a 'settling in' period, Cordata will
exchange ideas
with other groups in the co-operative movement
Through Cordata's example of low impact living in the Withington community, we hope to
encourage others
to make positive changes in their own living circumstances

No communal TV
, but open to review - interesting people are too good to be wasted in front of the box!
No indoor smoking
household
Share possessions
as much as possible – e.g. communal bookshelves
Food & Kitchen
Vegetarian
household
Keeping food
local, seasonal and organic
- minimise environmental costs and reap the nutritional benefits
Communal meals
weekday evenings on a rota
Do your own thing
on weekends/daytime - flexibility to give a shout out if in a cooking mood and want to share!
Communal shopping
– Benefit from the economies of scale and minimise packaging waste
Ecological only
-
Cleaning and washing products
The Eco House
Once an old, draughty Victorian property brought into the modern age with the bonuses of:
Super insulation
Solar panels
Solar water tubes
Combined heat and power boiler

This is a 'standard' house type in Manchester

If this eco-refit works well, it may prove that investing in these measures makes
better homes for tenants
and is
better for the environment
, all in a
financially viable
way

If we can prove this, securing further investment to
replicate this model
to benefit society may be possible
Co-operative Living
The eco house is
only a tool

Its a helping hand to allow us to live lower impact lifestyles

Tenants
aren't
expected to already live in an extensively low impact manner

We hope that tenants can pursue eco-friendly lifestyles
at a pace right for them

Cordata views this as an ongoing learning process, of both living cooperatively and living sustainably
Garden
Open garden space free to get to work on

Some potential ideas include:
Keeping hens
Herb garden
Food growing

Anything else!
Basement Space
The house has a basement level not currently converted

This space is fully wired up and has had doors installed that open into the garden space

Some potential ideas for this space include:
Laundry space
Arts / craft are
Bicycle workshop

Anything Else!
Thanks for Listening!
Questions?


Tenants don't have to be in paid employment to join - the requirement is that tenants meet the costs of the
collective rent
, contribute to the
maintenance
of the house, and collaborate with agreed
communal expenses

Whether this money is be provided through employment, savings or other (legal!) arrangements are all completely fine options.

If being involved in the finishing of the house (D.I.Y.) in preparation for moving in, you would
not be expected to pay rent during this time

Tenants to contribute to a
house maintenance fund
for emergency repairs and routine servicing (
included in the £360 rent
)

The collective Council tax for the house is
£1300 annually
Why not just
rent together?
Co-op living with others is
more equal
,
more fun
and gives you
more rights
as a tenant and a member

You have no landlord and are instead accountable to each other and make decisions collectively
Without guiding principles as a framework,
inequalities can emerge
in terms of personal commitments and accountability to each other

These issues can be
hard to confront

If renting off a landlord and staying with housemates you did not choose to live with, people can
feel they have less say
over their living arrangements - with
no way to back their views up

The meetings
keep everyone in the loop
and allow for
full participation
helping avoid such issues
Oiling the Works...
More than Money
Cordata
can't be an excessively 'cheap' house
- its mortgage has to be paid

However, the rent is in line with regular Withington rents - and the eco-house aspect means that
bills will be cheaper

But the project is about
more than money
- there are all the
added bonuses
Eco-House
Co-op Living
Tenant freedom
Social / community aspect
Membership

Holds official records for the co-op

Updates us on what's been decided in meetings

Keeps the list of co-op members up to date and makes changes when tenants come and go


Secretary
The Treasurer records all financial transactions and keep the co-op accounts up to date

They sort the year end accounts and get any info our funders need to them
Treasurer

Tenants have
no financial stake
in the house

Tenants will sign a lease and
pay rent from the point at which the house is ready for occupation

No rent deposit
, but all tenants need to pay their agreed rent contribution monthly in advance

The rent goes to The Co-operative Living Freehold society that owns the property

If split equally, rent will be
£360 pppm excluding utilities and council tax

Division of rent will be an equal split
Rent
All this talk of
meetings sounds like
hassle; is it necessary?
Furnishing & Decorating
Freedom to choose as a co-op the furniture and appliances for the house

Possibility of a small D.I.Y. budget from the Co-op Freehold Society to finish and decorate the house to tenants tastes
These are necessary to make the co-op run smoothly
To provide a valuable learning experience to Cordata's tenants, for each role in the house other members may 'shadow' those currently fulfilling the role.
This builds skills and gives an even greater sense of ownership
Full transcript