If you're new to the coliving movement, check the fundamentals of what coliving is, and read Outsite's excellent introduction, they operate many properties in interesting locations in a similar vein as we intend to, although we're of course doing it with a resilient social-enterprise co-ownership model…
All the questions
- Community Contract
How to get involved
What kind of people are welcomed? We're a community of knowledge and skill oriented professionals. If you've something you're learning, working on, or helping others to learn, especially if you're passionate about it, you'll fit in. One of our few collective values is diversity, and to achieve that we must be inclusive — providing it doesn't affect our ability to work on our own projects.
We thus welcome any age or occupation that fits with this, including kids and pets at times. But if you're a chainsaw wood sculptor or just had quintuplets that would be problematic. 🧐 We'd always recommend you seek something that might better suit you. Nonetheless most properties should have enough spaces for you to setup an easel and paint in quiet or bash out code—even whilst others partake in an intense karaoke session.
- 🛠Start a new space. Our model is open and reusable. It's still under development so it is a bit early to try replicating it—yet we'd love to see new spaces and their communities join our network to share in the benefits of being connected in a wider ecosystem. You must invest in your new project yourself to kickstart the crowdfunding, have an existing community or audience to crowdfund with, or a suitable funding source and business model. You can check the list of properties for some ideas. Contact Jacob. Co-founder
- 🧮Help launch the space. Some support in establishing a locality from the beginning! To take a larger early share stake, so being more hands on with the startup decisions and works. Contact Jacob. Co-ownership
- 🏘Coliving (fractional ownership)
Join the co-operative by buying in with any value of coliving shares, which gives part-ownership of the co-operative's assets (the property) and for the use of which anytime it's available you pay only costs. If you stay longer than your share you'd pay normal rental rates. Make a pledge.
- 🏡Cohousing (dedicated unit)
Join the co-operative with permanent use of a dedicated unit just for you (and your partner, friends,…). When you're not using it you can rent it. You'll need to contribute to expenses whilst staying or renting. Cohousing members have a permanent seat on the board. Make a pledge.
- 📈Preference shares
These offer a return as interest in tranches (4% from gross surplus, and 4% tied to performance). This of course supports the society's social purpose as an impact investment. Make a pledge or contact Jacob.
- 🔨Construction and fitout volunteers
A free room and meals, plus cash bonuses agreed by the team itself, else lots of free time; min 2 months. This applies only during the first phases of any project. In terms of roles, they'll be mixed, obviously some will be heavy labour at the beginning, but there'll also be cooking, hunting for second hand stuff in markets, coordinating with suppliers. Later on it will involve decoration and details. Contact Jacob.
- ⛑Support volunteers
A free stay with meals and a small stipend (~€250/month) in return for helping with some daily cooking, cleaning, gardening, and organising activities. These responsibilities are shared amongst multiple volunteers so you'll only be needed a couple of hours a day. You may also provide paid plans (meals, cleaning) for members and you get to keep the money. Min 2 months. Check back later.
- 🤝Community management
A free stay with meals, in return for welcoming and connecting everybody, keeping an eye on volunteers, plus handling some online enquiries/promotion, leaving you lots of free time. Min 2 months, this role will be in demand so make a great pitch, and we prefer longer. Contact Jacob.
- 🎨Residency programme
A free stay with meals, just pitch an interesting project that has benefit (or a good story) for the members or local community. In particular we'll have many murals that we'll be looking for artists to undertake and refresh. 1–6 months. Check back later.
- 🎈Organise an event
A free stay with meals, and you can stay longer than the event itself, if you organise and host a suitable event, a workshop, daily routine (e.g. yoga), or multi-day activity; either exclusively for our members (a great way to test a new idea!), or for your clients but including our members with a discount. Check back later.
A free stay with meals, in return for offering guidance to members on decisions in the democratic process. This requires committing a nominal amount of time to review votes and proposals several times a year. Contact Jacob.
A free stay with meals in return for connecting members between ecosystems and promoting use of our space amongst external communities. If you're community manager at a coworking space or online community you'd probably qualify! The duration of your stay would depend upon giving some indication of how you'd connect everyone, whether organising an event, or simply sending out a promotional mailing. Not available to influencers, you must be an active participant and leader in a community. Contact Jacob.
- 📆You can rent any available room or unit, however there are restrictions upon when you may book and for how long as most availability is reserved for members until a couple of months prior. This is the low-commitment way of participating, and if you come back again — you'll become a member of the co-op with the ability to vote. You may take the standard rental package and look after yourself, or you may take any premium package offered by our volunteers, such as for laundry and meals. Check back later. Group rental
- 🎳You can rent any available room or unit however there are some limits. You can also rent some of the shared spaces for private use by arrangement. Volunteers are also available to help out or organise catering. If you include our members in some way, a discount or longer stay can be offered. In all cases commercial or group use must be arranged and may require member approval. Check back later. Exchanges
- 🔀Coliving and cohousing members may be willing to exchange accommodation here for space elsewhere. Check back later. Jobs
- 💵There are no paid jobs at Hub House, it is a voluntarily run co-operative, for which the volunteers receive accommodation and/or a stipend. A bit like a monastery/convent — you help look after the community's basics and the community will help look after your basics. Ideas?
- 💡Any other ways you think you could get involved? Contact Jacob.
What are the goals for the project?
To provide affordable co-owned accommodations with workspace, for professionals, especially location independent — supporting diverse members within an ecosystem and network of such spaces, creating rewarding connections between us, both personally and professionally.
Our aim is not that of an intentional community in which everyone has the same intent, but rather for everyone to pursue their lives purposefully with diverse interests and approaches — getting outside the bubble. Wherein more of our intents may align, enabling members to share experiences and collaborate, amplifying our capabilities in new endeavours. Intentional groups will form amongst us within and supported by a more diverse diaspora than one finds with more typically singular intentional communities. We align closely with the approach of The Collective outlined in this interview, and support the Conscious Coliving Manifesto.
Spaces could however be hosted within intentional communities having a specific focus (e.g. permaculture) yet which support our open values for their visitors.
As co-owners, we of course benefit from the mutualised use of our own properties at cost. Yet with our multi-stakeholder model, in which we sell part of the project stake to investors (whom may in fact be some of us), we benefit from enhanced facilities built with their support too.
Expanding this concept into a network means any other projects that participate, will permit our use also at (or near) cost, as all co-owners may exchange their time amongst the whole network providing great freedom. Each project collective remains independent, setting their own exchange rates, allowing each to adapt to circumstances, such as to adjust their model and change their capacity allocations of ownership and rentals.
Some properties may be owned by a single co-operative, others may be commercial or independent. The Village 3.0 foundational message is strongly aligned.
Our core model is based around multiple types of property of differing sizes serving broad community and individual uses, larger properties having reliable transit within walking distance, whilst smaller ones may be more rural and in harder to reach locations. Most will have a communal vehicle.
Other properties with only one price bracket or service level are not inclusive, and this is an important value, so we shall provide a span of accommodation types as each property allows, from the most affordable pods, to more exclusive studios. This way we're all included together whatever our means and preferences.
We particularly want to support escaping from cities without being disconnected from dynamism, a middle path. None of the properties would be so large that you loose the feeling of being in a welcoming space in which you can get to know your fellow members and visitors alike, yet most would be still large enough that they remain ever interesting and full of ideas…
- 🏡Satellite houses (under 10 rooms) — smaller properties giving a few of us at a time easy access to specific activities and locations, offering opportunity to explore and pursue experiences, whether by the sea, in a city, up a mountain… Only basic common facilities, such as a single workspace and shared bathrooms. Generally only accommodating short stays, potentially without volunteers, although may be the base for some resident co-owners.
- 🏬Mini-hubs (10–20 rooms) — are situated within or closer to interesting locations, generally with only one of each type of common space, and less suitable for longer stays. These will often be in repurposed properties that retain some of their original layouts so encouraging everyone to muddle in, able to host cosy gatherings if not events.
- 🏢Hubs (over 20 rooms) — large buildings with many purpose-designed common spaces, and enough capacity to bring us together without getting cramped. Suitable for events, plus longer stays. Activities may not be on the doorstep, yet the spaces give us independence and variety so that we can also find solitude. As spaces hosting a multitude of dynamic members these ideally also contribute to their surrounding communities.
- 🏘Complexes — multiple buildings and outdoor spaces bringing everything and everyone together, but may sacrifice on locality although these properties are dynamic villages themselves! They provide units and spaces perfect for longer-term and use as a base. They can host large summits, festivals, and multiple teams, maybe also having multipurpose spaces, such as an events auditorium/cinema, workshops for a variety of professional uses including performance and visual arts. Could be a bygone industrial building or rural with tinyhomes.
How does it function as a social enterprise?
Equity is split between investors (motivated by financial returns) and users (motivated by use and community). The equity allocation corresponds to actual capacity. As investors don't gain use, the surplus capacity they represent is available for other uses, it provides not only flexibility for co-owners to choose their preferred dates, but rentals that generate revenue for both our investors but also our community.
There are other benefits to a multi-stakeholder model like this, if the model eliminated the investor class, the shares would be correspondingly more expensive, although rental revenue would be shared amongst everyone. Ironically being more egalitarian by excluding those with both fewer and more means. The problem with having only one class is that the bar to entry would be higher and the co-op would serve only mid-market members. By having the two classes, we serve those at lower and higher rungs, leaving those in the middle to adjust as they prefer. Other co-ops in future may be better off focussing on having a single class and collectively distributing revenue.
How are interests between the different stakeholders balanced?
The two groups, on the face of it, have conflicting interests. Users expect affordable use of a property for the long-term, which naturally does not encourage the generation of any revenue surplus. Investors expect a financial return, both ongoing, and potentially one-off which may incentivise resource allocation towards rentals or even the sale of the property.
Sale (divestment) is mitigated due to a larger proportion of user-members (around two-thirds), thus as long as the property is useful to them, any attempt to sell is unlikely.
Revenue generation is incentivised by virtue that a share of profit surplus is placed into our community fund, used to improve facilities and experiences, thus avoiding the tragedy of the commons. Investors receive dividends on their preference shares before the community fund, therefore there is an incentive to generate adequate revenue to not only pay dividends but make improvements for everyone.
How is financial resilience for future costs handled?
We don't want to use bets against markets, real estate lifecycles, nor favour investment returns in the long-run realised by simple divestment.
Many 'lifestyle' coliving spaces are operated by a single owner or their staff, whom are the fallback for issues, and will fund repairs etc. Assuming they've allowed for it. In the Hub House model we are the owners. We should avoid shared ownership models, in which future costs are raised only when needed.
We therefore shall utilise a maintenance fund which minimises issues and disagreements, albeit at the expense of increased monthly contributions. See membership contributions.
Whom are the target market?
- Remote workers and fixed-location professionals whom can take sabbaticals and workations; an exceptionally large future market segment that is developing as working practices change. This also includes team retreats, a group format used by companies having predominantly remote workforces and no offices, thus preferring to organise get-togethers; few locations offer work and living space for larger groups.
- Location independent professionals and digital nomads; a subset lifestyle market ultimately having a growth cap yet acting as an important driver for the prior, and whom travel often continuously and with no specific base.
- Organised workations, for groups of individuals. Run by companies organising these on a regular basis in multuple locations, but renting properties that are less than ideal. (Only applicable to larger properties, not satellites.)
These have distinct targeting yet related needs. They are by no means tech oriented and can include wellbeing, the arts and sciences alike. Anybody undertaking work that may be performed at a distance.
Some of these individuals cannot or prefer not to escape for long, and may only visit for a week or two as work or inclination allows. The rest however have much more personal flexibility and prefer to travel to take advantage of lower living costs alongside lifestyle benefits, and for longer to take proper advantage.
Sub-letting your room in the city for a month or two away somewhere new and interesting at a lower cost entirely covered by the sublet, is a clear win-win. With the first property Hub House is specifically not competing with other more expensive destinational coliving hubs, but rather is appealing with affordability alongside community and facilities.
What is the formation and acquisition process?
- prospective backers make a no-commitment pledge at any time
- the society is incorporated
- the founder takes responsibility for establishing the space (the "startup phase")
- membership share contracts are issued with conditions allowing termination in case a suitable property is not chosen; no payments are required at this stage
- a vote is taken to approve the property and authorise the completion of the membership share contracts
- capital for the property acquisition is raised by completing the member share sale contracts
- the property acquisition is secured with a deposit from the initial capital raised
- the property sale is finalised after it has been officiated with payment made from raised capital
- ongoing share issue sale contracts are made to fund renovation, fitout and initial operations (runway)
- works progress as these funds are made available
- significant expenses are put to member vote before those works commence, or alternatives chosen
- the shareholders vote to declare operational capacity (or two years has passed, whichever is sooner), thus completing the founder's role to establish the space, handing all ongoing operational decisions to the members
- elections are held for a new managing director and board, or renew their roles
- share owners may use their corresponding time (prior to this, only on a first-come first-served basis at the director's discretion to avoid impact upon completion of the works)
What is the share sale contract?
To become a member of the co-operative you must own shares. The share sale contract provides guarantees that you can purchase them during the initial issue, whilst allowing some time to cancel if plans change on either side.
At the time of making the contract you can indicate if A. any property is good for you (e.g. coliving) or B. if only a specific property is (e.g. cohousing).
When we have enough members who've committed to a contract, we will take a vote on the plans and if it no longer matches your choice, your contract is voided. In the worse case if the minimum is not achieved, we may cancel all the contracts thus avoiding the need to vote to return any funds as none would have been paid.
Only the contracts matching the plan that is voted through shall become members. It may be some months before the vote is taken, and whilst contracts are issued.
What are the different types of share?
The co-owner share classes are all community shares, which are used for raising capital in community-owned businesses, and are withdrawable (subject to waitlist) at original value.
The special classes are not withdrawable as they hold no value, these expire or may be cancelled depending on the terms of their issue or contribution.
All may be held by any legal person, including companies. Rental bookings are open to everyone. Dividends are credited to account and may thus be used for stays and other costs.
co-owner classes (equity)
- Investor: this is a preference share offering interest payments. This class represents around 35% of total shares issued. They do not offer any share-use.
- Coliving: these provide share-use booking at cost corresponding the stake held.
- Cohousing: these give a permanent private unit allocation. Issue is however subject to council or director approval (see membership process).
What's the main use difference between coliving and investment shares?
Coliving (fractional) shares are intended for those whom will mostly use the space themselves. If you use it more you pay the normal rental rate, but during their corresponding time you pay only an at-cost rate.
Investment (preferential) shares are for those whom will not use much or any time at the space. They pay priority dividends (from the first profits generated). If you wanted to choose between payouts or use, you would need approximately twice the number of shares to receive dividends enough to cover the cost of (a standard) rental.
You can hold both types of share, in which case you could use dividends from investment shares to cover your contribution to costs, thus effectively a life-long cost-free stay.
What if I don't use my coliving time?
You can share your time with a friend. Else all unbooked time shall be made available for rental however as the co-op exists to serve its shareholder members as users, we must therefore mitigate the acquisition of shares exclusively for 'sublets' which would be damaging to the community.
Resale of time (i.e. subletting) will be permitted to other members at any rate not exceeding the market rate. This works well with lower demand, however in the case of high demand, the cap on demand from the limited resaleable market of existing members may not be adequate and other mechanisms may be introduced to limit their speculative value and ensure affordability.
As we want members to participate not just hold shares to earn from, stricter controls would likely involve a cap on revenue from non-use (over a multi-year period to ensure use is possible given changing lifestyles) with the difference going to the community fund. This approach allows the penalisation of bad management by reducing the rates on additional time to be almost free to existing members thus contributing nothing to the fund which members would then rebel against.
Why are cohousing/dedicated shares cheaper versus coliving/fractional?
Because with fractional the coop must cover the cost of fitout and maintenance, whilst with dedicated its owner does, this is also factored into the expenses contribution as generally a dedicated member will use common spaces slightly less and they must cover their own redecoration costs.
What kind of corporate body will own and operate the property?
A Co-operative Society limited by shares. If you're interested in why not a CIC, this article explains issues with their long-term resilience, but also because their dividends are capped, unlike a society. Furthermore a co-operative is permitted to promote the sale of community shares (without an extremely costly prospectus).
The society's rules use a multi-stakeholder model inspired by FairShares, but remove most decision making from the board and directors in favour of direct shareholder votes, this further upholds the co-operative principles and reduces complexity by eliminating hierarchy and bureaucracy, albeit at the cost of requiring members to be more involved in decisions.
Votes and meetings will be done online, so all stakeholders can have their say wherever they are. Note that votes on matters that are not day-to-day (e.g. annual budgets) will utilise a weighting factor to avoid those whom are not actively utilising the co-operative's services, from unduly influencing them.
Why register the corporate body in the UK?
We're an international group of members, and we need transparency into our own governance. If we were to incorporate in a non-English speaking country, very few of us would be able to verify our own rules, and we'd always be needing official translations. There are certainly other English using countries (e.g. Ireland) however their legislation is some way behind that of the UK.
A UK-EU relationship is not of any concern. Most of our accounting will be under mutual rules, and otherwise have limited profits. We will not be registered for VAT, and we undertake little trading. We will however be obliged to file accounts both locally and with UK tax authorities for our non-member rentals which will be a trading activity.
Mutual accounting rules work on the principle that monies passed to someone else (e.g. housekeeper, or a member's association) are to effect personal expenses on your behalf or collectively. Any unspent monies are either maintained as a rolling account, or are returned. As it is not a trading activity, no accounts need be filed with the tax authorities.
How is the society regulated?
1. By its rules (governing articles) registered with the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014.
2. By its members under the community contract. In addition to voting on decisions directly, members hold the right to inspect the member register and accounts (both public on the website), but also to bring before the courts any action that does not follow the society's rules. There is no regulatory body, and the society is exempted from the Financial Promotions Act for promotion and sale of community shares. The FCA may however be requested to exercise is statuary powers if the society is believed to have breached the law (not its rules, see prior), or to appoint an inspector upon request by at least 10% of members.
For UK citizens, community shares are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme nor Financial Ombudsman Service.
What happens to the money I pay for a new share issue?
It becomes the working capital of the society, after transfer to the society's bank account to complete your share issue contract. Funds are raised in this way for major projects, such as the purchase or major works of a property. Property purchased with this capital is thus then a collective asset of the co-operative, of which you own your corresponding share, and can vote upon its uses.
How are funds disbursed?
The setup phase is different than the operational phase thereafter. All accounts are public and updated daily.
Payments and budgets over certain thresholds must be passed by member vote, with more members being required the larger the cost. Small costs from budgets are dispensed by those authorised to use them. (Volunteers for example can buy food and cleaning supplies without asking.)
During the startup phase, the founder is authorised to make most decisions as there are many hundreds of items to be sourced, he will however be obligated to maintain a running itemisation of planned purchases in addition to the accounts. Any item exceeding €10000 shall in all cases require a member vote (including the property itself). Members may propose firing him if they think there's someone better. 🤨 They may also put in place additional directors or committees with specific responsibilities.
What happens if the property can't be acquired?
We'll give everyone the opportunity to withdraw their shares, or wait for another candidate.
What happens if adequate capital is not raised?
The property purchase contract shall be negotiated with flexibility to raise capital before closure, as otherwise the deposit would be lost (they are non-refundable).
Renovation and fitout works will be scheduled in phases according to available capital.
In the case of something not going to plan, a extraordinary general meeting would be called and proposals put to the vote, e.g. to windup the society and return capital or to contract with a crowdfunding platform or loan issuer to raise additional capital.
What if there is a surplus of capital after works?
A vote will be held. The budget includes a cushion thus there should be funds remaining. If significant, the total share capital would be reduced and the surplus capital returned to your personal account balance for withdrawal (or use). (You must declare it as a capital return with your tax authority to avoid further taxation, as it is not a capital gain, unlike dividends.) Otherwise it will likely be invested in additional facilities or improvements.
What if there is a budget short fall?
A vote will be held. One possible outcome is that the total share capital may be increased and new shares issued to raise the extra funds. This means each member's proportion of use would be reduced/diluted.
How may I acquire shares?
If you wish to utilise your shares for accommodation at a property, it is advisable to apply for membership first. Shares alone only give voting and dividend rights. (Does not apply to the first shareholders whom are automatically granted membership.)
From the waitlist, check the website to see if anyone is withdrawing their membership.
For a new share issue, by application. If successful, a sale contract shall be offered that sets the price, issue date and payment terms (minimum 25% on the day of issue). Only the acceptance and return of this contract confirms a share issue to you.
Can I sell my shareholding?
It is only natural that a holder's lifestyle or needs may change with time, therefore to avoid cases where members no longer fit in with nor benefit from the community over the long-term, shares may be withdrawn and refunded at any time.
You may not transfer them (sell or donate) as shares represent a commitment to either being an active part of the community (coownership), or passively supporting it (investors), each having their corresponding benefits in place of being a speculative asset.
After a withdrawal request is received from you, your account shall be credited only once one or more pending members from the waitlist, for the same share class, complete a sale contract for their whole value (cohousing), or any part thereof (all other classes).
This mechanism is know as community shares, and prevents speculative trading by transfer, ensuring that the value of the co-operative's housing and services are fixed and accessible throughout its life.
It also encourages a virtuous cycle in which members are encouraged to contribute to the community and increase the likelihood others shall want to join the waitlist, as otherwise withdrawal might be difficult.
There is no fee for this and receipt of the funds is a capital return thus is not taxable (any appreciation would be a taxable capital gain). Dividends (if any) and rights continue until withdrawal can be completed through the waitlist.
Can the value of shares be changed?
Share value is linked to authorised capital, which may be changed only by 75% vote and with limits on frequency and value of such changes, except where emergency funds are required for repairs. An increase in authorised capital, reduces the use value of shares, permitting new shares to be issued to raise that capital.
However appreciation of share value shall be permitted with a rolling cap that increases the capitalisation once shares are withdrawn and reissued. This appreciation is expected to at least track inflation. TBD: whether this value is paid out to the original owner upon withdrawal or the community fund.
How long may shares be held?
Share renewal will be up for debate but is likely to remain valid as long as the holder remains mobile (does not require nursing), with a clause enabling renewals if deemed helpful, or to better support adaptation to wider multi-generational inclusion such as with elderly care in larger properties. We could also adopt a more egalitarian approach in which shares expire after a few decades avoiding the concentration of wealth and value, with a nominal renewal cost to support growth and rennovation.
What is cofounder status, and what benefits do they gain?
They support the initial establishment and in return are given some privileges for this.
- have first choice of shares with the option of part-payment
- may stay and use rooms during the works phases
- gain a small bonus share
- have permanent board membership
- have no other special rights once operational status is voted through
Is my shareholding private? How is my privacy protected?
Yes, your share classes, number held, account activity and balance are not disclosed to the public nor any other members. Some designated officers of the society have access but are under contract to protect and prevent disclosure of your shareholding. The status of your account is available to all members.
Upon demand the FCA may access them (but no other UK body).
In accordance with an EU Directive, your details and shareholding are required to be registered with the local beneficial owner register which is used by the revenue service. This register functions to make transparent the actual owners of companies and co-operatives regardless of their country of incorporation.
Your address is however by law required to be made available to all members. If this is a concern, we suggest you simply use the hub address on your profile.
All members are required to maintain an online profile for the members register. Some parts of this (firstname, mini bio, photo and website) are by default public, but you may restrict this to members only if so desired.
These are a special class for which shares are only issued in totality for an entire unit. Cohousing share owners have the same rights as any other member, except because of their generally larger shareholding and longer-term use, shall benefit from more influence when deciding budgets, thus will likely be lobbied by and be able to act as swing votes or arbiters for other minority members upon budget votes. They have the same voting rights as other members in budget use, but as they will generally be present for longer, they may also have an elevated weighting in this too.
- dedicated private use unit, fitout and decoration by the member themselves
- may be rented, privately for any value, or through the collective with a minimum value
local regulations plus equipment and cleaning requirements will apply
- the expense contribution will be at the additional occupant rate for the first person, and at the non-member coworking rate for any further (including children); electricity in the unit will be in addition as used
- subject to the same community contract requirements, including guest registration
- use of common equipment and supplies as per all other members
linens, cleaning supplies, kitchen tools etc. but must be returned to common spaces
- class conversion in case of withdrawal delay (i.e. the shares and unit are converted to coliving for easier fractional withdrawal)
Will additional services be available?
We won't be like a hotel nor premium coliving spaces. We'll help each other keep things clean, and do our own laundry. Our volunteers will however help us with the basics, and if you prefer to be looked after they may offer serviced rooms and mealplans. Other members may also offer services from time to time. 👏
What are the renovation, fitout and operational budgets?
These will be published for each property that is a final candidate and can thus be used by each potential shareholder to inform their decision to participate in the final property prior to the share issue. Currently published budgets and rates are only indicative, final details will be provided in the prospectus.
How are annual budgets and rates decided?
An executive shall prepare and propose them at the annual shareholder meeting, and they must be approved or modified by the shareholders before funds are assigned for use. If you are not a shareholder you can always lobby them if you think a new console/kayak/widget would be useful, or something has fallen apart. ;)
How is the co-operative governed?
There are two governance documents to be aware of. Most of the details on this page are derived from our community contract that every member and user agrees to abide by, and can be revised anytime by the members. The other is the rules of the co-operative, and which can only be revised by special resolution (with a significant majority) and is recorded by the mutuals registrar in the UK.
Over time we will almost certainly revise both of these. We may even see some small details such as the 'quiet time' changing from season to season or when different groups of members are present.
Who are the executives?
They are nominated and elected at the annual shareholder meeting. There may be multiple executives and each shall be given specific responsibilities and budget oversight. If any executive's performance is found wanting, shareholders may call a meeting to revoke their authority and elect another in their place. The initial executive (Managing Director) at time of society formation shall be the founder for a period of two years.
How can I come and stay?
Simply book on the site which is open to everyone. If you are not yet a member, you will join us as a guest, for which there are no requirements except agreement to our community contract and pre-payment. Once you have stayed one month, you will automatically be granted membership, unless you have been summoned before the council for any breach of the community contract.
How is share use assured?
Preference shares do not include any use share, therefore by issuing these, we ensure the corresponding proportion of available capacity to provide share use flexibility, and to generate revenue from the resulting availability.
Share use is given preference for advance bookings with most of the rental capacity held back for bookings no sooner than three months in advance. Worst case scenario, there are also pods for overlaps until a room becomes available. We may nonetheless in future reserve a proportion of room availability for last-minute share bookings.
Obviously certain times of year will be more popular than others, advance booking is therefore the best solution, however with seasonal rates, peak demand shall be somewhat mitigated and booking distribution improved in favour of non-peak times. Furthermore, the rate variations amongst seasons and room types also creates a surplus of capacity (~10%), although this is obviously only created for the least demanded rooms and seasons.
During times of exceptional demand (i.e. bigger events), some rooms may be equipped with supplementary beds, therefore those whom are willing to share may choose to open the availability of such beds for others and gain the corresponding credit to their account.
When can I book a room?
Specific rules shall be decided and refined every now and then amongst us.
- co-owner teams may book up to 10% of capacity, up to twelve months in advance
- rental bookings may be made up to 10% capacity, up to nine months in advance
- co-owners may book up to 50% of capacity, up to six months in advance
- co-owners may book all capacity under twelve weeks in advance
- rentals up to 25% of capacity, under twelve weeks in advance
- first-come first-served under six weeks in advance
Occupancy is measured as total days booked for the desired period, therefore it might be possible to book with date adjustments. You may also request that the manager use their discretion if the automated system does not. Bookings for dates adjacent to other arrivals and departures are always preferred and always have booking fees waived.
Minimum stay will be 14 days, and move-in days are likely to be employed, e.g. only Fri or Sat. It is also likely that bookings will only be possible at fornightly intervals, i.e. bookings immediately following annother, else 14 days later or anypoint thereafter. This minimises empty periods that cannot be filled.
How much share use do I have?
Every share having coliving use provides entirely flexible bookings, credited to your account annually. The value corresponds its proportional share of the rates table for the different units, seasons and durations. These rates may be revised from year to year, but the proportion you hold of its aggregrate value shall not change (except in the rare event of recapitalisation, or a reconfiguration of property capacity).
The online booking calculator will indicate what use you have remaining each year, and how long this gives you in each type of room.
How long is share use valid?
All share use expires annually. Expiry dates are randomly allocated to each member, to avoid booking rushes. To enable members to obtain a more preferable expiry date, they may choose to shuffle it, in which case their use is pro-rated and a new expiry date assigned between 4 and 8 months from the existing one.
What are the costs for a room?
All rooms have separate rates that are billed daily during each season. See the booking form as this will display and calculate daily rates. A booking and change fee usually applies.
For ordinary members your rate is reduced the longer you stay, e.g. the monthly rate only applies if you stay more than four weeks.
For shareholders, you pay only the contribution to costs during your share use time at the ratio corresponding the room. Beyond your share use, you pay the standard rental rates as any ordinary member, however the longer term rates will apply for the entire duration of your booking (e.g. if you have four weeks share use, and book a further four weeks rental, the rental would be at the long-term rate).
Additional occupants are charged at the same cash rate for everyone.
When do I have to pay?
We don't take deposits but do take a non-refundable advance. If less than six weeks, 30% at booking and remainder two weeks before arrival; thus if less than two weeks until arrival, must be paid in full at booking. Otherwise for longer stays 30% of one month at booking, and then monthly.
How long can I stay?
The maximum stay is two months until you are a member, then it is six months for any single booking including extensions. You may request that the council grant an exception (and is valid only at the time of the request).
Can I extend my stay?
Yes if there is availability. Any extension benefits from the cost reduction corresponding the new duration but the original does not change. As a guest desiring to stay longer, your first booking would be two months, and after the first month you could extend it if desired. Warning: you must extend and settle your account balance before your paid-for use expires, as your pass will stop working and you will be unable to regain access to your room and the house.
Can I book multiple rooms?
No, except for an event. You can book multiple pods. Your guests should book themselves. You can make a reservation and then invite your guest to complete it.
Events are booked only by arrangement for up to 50% of capacity, rooms can also be adjusted to accommodate twin/triple beds, else you can use local accommodations as well. Cost can be reduced if members attend free or with a discount.
Are there group discounts?
Maybe. Groups tend to be cliquey and we like everyone to interact, so we don't encourage groups unless from the ecosystem (i.e. coworking spaces, co-ops, social enterprise teams, progressive businesses,…) for whom we may offer a discount. Please introduce yourselves!
Can I share my room?
Yes. If your roommate is not a member, they must register as a guest, and will be given their own access pass. Anyone unregistered and without their own pass will be immediately ejected. Your guest is always your responsibility and their actions may result in both your memberships being reviewed, so make sure you educate them well!
Your account will be charged additional cost contributions for your guest(s) with a minimum of two days, charging stops when their pass is returned (this can be done using the site or app by them or by you). You may opt to charge your guest however you want including using our official system. If your guest stays long enough, you will no longer be responsible for their membership as they will gain their own.
Can I share my time?
You can transfer any value of your remaining use to another member's account. Use is thus freely tradeable amongst members (our 'internal market'). If you want to invite a colleague, friend or any non-member you must vouch for them as a new member (see following) then make the transfer. This is subject to review and may be withdrawn or limits imposed, you may not therefore use this mechanism to sell your time outside the co-op.
What about sharing cohousing units?
Your contributions are at the additional occupant rate for each person including the first, this considers the fact that you may use common facilities slightly less, but that each person can still utilise them i.e. it includes coworking for each person. You are free to charge them as you wish, however guests must be aware of the community rules therefore bookings through most platforms will not be permissable unless this step can be ensured. Subject to local legislation.
Can I share my pass/account?
No. You will be called before the council whom are likely to revoke your membership.
Membership and account
How do I become a member?
In addition to the automatic grant as above, there are two other means.
A: Apply and agree to the community contract. Your application will be reviewed at the next council session when there's availability. If you are declined you can reapply under a new council session.
B: If you know a member, they can vouch for your application, and it will be granted immediately.
NOTE: until there is a council, membership is automatically granted, thus all the earliest members (i.e. shareholders) are reviewed only by the founder.
The community contract gives the right to use accommodation and facilities, and to vote on day-to-day matters. The contract also includes an obligation to participate in council sessions (our form of jury duty and community determination) for which you will be randomly selected when and if any sessions are called.
Membership is not transferable.
What is an access pass?
Keys and the member register are electronic. Everyone at a property must check in and out to ensure safety and security. A pass can be issued as a contactless card, pass on your RFID-phone, and/or as an app. You must keep one of these with you when leaving the property. The app will check you in and out automatically, otherwise you must touch your phone or card at the door when arriving or leaving.
Is there a membership fee?
For guest (rental) members, a nominal fee will be introduced.
For shareholders, none. If you use your time allocation, you contribute to the costs when you do. If you fail to use your time, no payment is due as the society will instead attempt to rent unused time, which also contributes to the community fund in the next year — so you should make and vote on proposals to use it!
What do the monthly expenses that member-shareholders pay include?
Your contribution towards all recurring costs. Such as taxes, utilities (electricity, internet,…), our repairs and replacements, plus our volunteers and communal facilities such as vehicles. Note that significant use of bedroom heating is not included and rooms are individually metered.
Our maintenance fund covers (most, if not all) replacement equipment and decorations across their lifetime, preventing issues from arising amongst co-owners at the potentially unexpected times they would otherwise becomes due. This allows the co-operative to function resiliently without having to unexpectedly raise additional funds. Bedding replacement for example varies from 3 years for linens and protectors, to 8 years for mattresses.
The initial costs are estimates. If the costs are a little lower than budgeted it will just be spent on some ice-cream for everyone. Otherwise the rates are adjusted based on updated costs.
My balance is in credit, can I make a withdrawal?
Yes, but excluding any pending charges and the share capital, and only directly to a bank account. Dividends are taxable income, and must therefore be declared with your appropriate tax authorities. (Taxation is your own personal matter.)
My balance is in arrears, can I make a payment in person?
Yes, but cash payments are subject to a fee. We don't want your dirty money. 🦹 Card and some electronic payments 5–10%. Bank transfers are free, except if you send foreign in which case you'll only be credited after deduction of bank fees as applicable. Other members won't pay for your choice of financial instruments. And no crypto, find your own currency dealer. 😝
What happens to accounts in arrears?
If such status is not resolved it becomes visible to all members, per the community contract so that house accounts can be managed accordingly.
Members in difficulty may have the opportunity to take up a volunteer role and relinquish their booking in order that they incur no further costs, however this would be at the discretion of a council session and is best arranged before such event occurs.
When unresolved, non-members shall be ejected at such time. For members, any withdrawable shares they hold shall be withdrawn to cover the arrears. Accounts in arreas are shared across the network and associated networks and therefore bookings may not be accepted in any connected property until resolved.
When can I vouch for new members?
After staying three months, or one year after your first stay if less. If the new member is referred to the council within their first three months you will also be called before them. You may only vouch for 1 new member each year.
Are children welcome?
In hubs and larger properties, yes, in satellite and smaller properties, only at specific times of year.
Our properties are both working and living spaces, and the community contract therefore requires that should you believe you may disrupt others, you must seek an indication from those already present in any given room that you will not disrupt them. Not all properties are suitably large to provide space for kids, however in larger properties there should be either indoor or outdoor space away from those working whom cannot be disturbed. In smaller ones a month or two every year will be chosen for families, and anyone else whom is happy to share the extra liveliness with them, the specific dates will be rotated from year to year to ensure it's not always the same time. If your children are older, cool and collected they'll be welcomed anytime in a pod.
Given that this is a work-focussed space (although not all properties will be), particularly rambunctious kids or noisy babies would not fit and other members would likely raise their concerns. Obviously occasional disruptions are to be expected. However if disruption were reoccurring, members may call a council session to resolve it.
We will nonetheless maintain several dates throughout the year when children are welcome whatever their disposition.
If you are looking to stay a while and provide homeschooling, we encourage you to coordinate with other members and to arrange a volunteer or teacher, we have extra bedrooms available and you could share the costs of their living and stipend/pay.
Are the elderly and other-abled welcome?
There's no limit so long as you can look after yourself. In other cases you are most welcome to enquire if a volunteer may be available to provide assistance (or you can bring someone to help you if we have a free volunteer room), however this cannot be guaranteed and a contribution may be expected. Because we renovate existing properties, many facilities may not however be accessible, please check the property.
We would love to support more life stages, and are thus planning multi-generational spaces, which may be both near the current hub so everybody can still benefit together, whilst also maintaining some separation for different groups such as nursing and elderly care to better fit their different life rhythms. These spaces are likely to run as a separate co-operative but with exchangeability between them, thus when and if your life stage changes, you could remain a participant.
What about dogs and cats?
No we hate animals. Awww. They are very welcome in your room (as ever you are responsible for any damage) and in fact they're also welcome everywhere else if you check with anyone already there. The workspaces and library are always out of bounds. We will prevent simultaneous bookings between those with allergies and those with pets.
How are decisions made about the living space, rules and use of the budget?
Anyone who is currently staying or has stayed recently and has voting rights can propose changes and then vote upon them. See the member contract for the current process as it can change, the longer you've stayed the more votes you get. Some decisions are delegated to an official or council group, however the members can grill or fire them if enough think they're doing a bad job.
Who enforces the rules?
Any guide elected by a council, any manager, or any executive. Members may request a council session if they feel unfairly treated. Following this, they may also opt to elevate an issue to the board if the council didn't have a majority.
What is a council session?
The council is non-executive and does not report to the board, its decisions on matters relating to member conduct and day-to-day operations are final and require a 60% majority in all matters (abstentions are not permitted). Councillors are chosen for individual sessions by algorithm (ensuring diversity and randomisation) and it is a contractual obligation to participate.
Most sessions are resolved online, some require an on location presence by the council such as for misconduct and illegal behaviour. Sessions are only called if members are unable to resolve issues directly, or to change day-to-day operational matters.
A council session may be invoked by any member but must be supported by x others.
All sessions are preceded with a poll around two days before, in which preliminary opinions are taken. These are announced when the session starts and councillors may then make their final votes after hearing arguments from members and other councillors.
Any member whom has in the last three months breached the community contract (including not participating in a council vote) shall be identified online.
Who are the board?
Members will annually nominate and elect them, a board member does not have to be a shareholder nor community member, however a member may not nominate themselves. The founder assigns the initial board.
What is the board's role?
The board is advisory, although holds one executive role. They advise on decisions presented by both directors and members directly. The board functions as a last-resort for the resolution of member issues, and exceptionally if they perceive a potential resolution to be damaging they may veto it until it is reviewed and represented. Thus they act to keep both directors and members in check, if members have issues in relation to proposals, they must listen to your concerns and convey their position to the proposer of a resolution. The board has no decision making ability itself, although they may submit proposals the decision (vote) remains with members.
It's important to note that whilst the board could veto a proposal indefinitely, should this happen, members may replace them. It thus remains in everyone's interests to work together.
What do the emojis on profiles mean?
We purposefully do not identify between different types of member. However we do indicate people whose roles/responsibilities and characteristics (e.g. if they're new) hold relevance.
- 🎩 executive — works for us
- 🧚 board member — advises us
- ⛑️ guide/manager — organises us
- 🔱 council member (temporary) — manages us
- 📯 ambassador — promotes and connects us
- 🎈 event organiser or residency recipient — informs and entertains us
- 🧢 guest — visiting us
- 🐀 miscreant (temporary) — did something bad
- 👋 first time here (temporary) — needs welcoming
- 📍 been here a bit, staying a while yet (conditional) — probably knows the place
Do the shareholders own the Hub House identity?
No. The shareholders will own and control the property holding society and its acquired assets (i.e. buildings and equipment).
What is Hub House?
A social enterprise functioning as a platform.coop, to develop and operate technology platforms and models for its members (being independent co-owned properties that meet its eligibility requirements), to facilitate operations of their properties, and enable their participation in a wider ecosystem (such as to exchange co-ownership time use amongst independent properties, this enabling co-owners to move amongst them without separate additional investments), to share resources and promote themselves collectively.
What is the relationship between the property co-operative and Hub House?
Hub House is granted a contract in return for licensing its brand, to assist in the operations of the property on behalf of the property's shareholders. The members may revoke this contract, and put in place a new operation and identity as they see fit, or under new terms. It is similarly possible for Hub House to revoke its contract for use of its identity and platform if eligibility changes. The contract shall be granted at no cost for the first 2 years, upon expiry Hub House's requirements will include the exchange of a share stake (i.e. the platform benefits if the house benefits, and vice-versa).
Minor detail: If the contract is revoked the operating company will be obliged to rename itself, if it employs Hub House in its name.
What is the founder's responsibility and remuneration?
The founder will purchase an initial shareholding as the first backer, and will be contracted to provide operational management for two years in return for an additional equity take (~5%). This will cover all aspects in order to reach operational capacity, and in a more limited manner, oversight of operations thereafter. Shareholders shall specifically declare operational capacity by vote, from which point all decisions will only be directly voted upon. Following expiry of the founder's contract, some responsibilities may be transferred to Hub House, if the shareholders approve that contract's extension, otherwise the shareholders will be obliged to budget for and approve a new operational capability, e.g. shareholder volunteering, hiring a director, contracting a management company…