Your Questions

This is in-progress and will not apply until launch. If in doubt, there's probably wiggle-room. Looking for more general details about our crowdfunding or our candidate property?

To open, what kind of people are welcomed into the community? Well, we're a knowledge and work oriented community. 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 (allergy sufferers too). But if you're a chainsaw wood sculptor or just had quintuplets that could be problematic. 🧐 We'd always recommend you seek something that might better suit you. Nonetheless we've enough spaces for you to setup an easel and paint in quiet—even whilst others partake in an intense karaoke session.

All the questions

How to get involved

What are the goals for the project?

To provide affordable co-owned accommodations with workspace for location independent professionals, within a diverse ecosystem and as part of a network of such spaces. Some may be owned by a single co-operative, others may be commercial or independent. The Village 3.0 foundational message is strongly aligned.

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, wherein many intents may align, thus enabling members to collaborate and share experiences.

Our core model is based around two types of property:
A. Hubs — these are large in affordable locations, allowing members to use them longer-term and to connect with others, but usually in less well travelled locations. As spaces hosting many dynamic members these ideally also contribute to their surrounding communities.
B. Satellites — these are smaller and generally more expensive thus enabling them to be in varied interesting locations, offering opportunity to explore and persue experiences, whether by the sea, in a city, up a mountain…

Pledging

What is the formation and acquisition process?

  1. backers make a no-commitment pledge at any time
  2. the society is incorporated, with the founder taking responsibility as managing director for establishing the space
  3. capital for the property acquisition shall be raised with share sale contracts issued to those who pledged (priority being given to the founder, cofounders, and earliest pledges)
  4. the property acquisition is secured with a deposit using the capital raised from the first share issue (i.e. the founders)
  5. ongoing share issue contracts are closed whilst the property sale is officiated
  6. the property sale is finalised with payment made from raised capital
  7. ongoing share issue sale contracts are made to fund renovation, fitout and initial operations (runway)
  8. works commence as these funds become available
  9. significant expenses are put to member vote before those works commence, or alternatives chosen
  10. 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
  11. elections are held for a new managing director and board, or renew their roles
  12. 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 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, holding only a nominal value and expire or may be cancelled depending on the terms of their issue or contribution.

All may be held by any legal person (i.e. including companies). Rental bookings are open to everyone. Dividends are credited to account and may thus be used for expenses or rentals.

When will shares be issued?

There will be several separate share issues and your pledge pre-qualifies you for some. Amounts under €10,000 must be paid up upon completion of the contract, amounts over this can have flexible terms, with minimum 25% upon contract acceptance. One person may apply for multiple types of shares.

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 based on 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 with very limited profits, we will not be registered for VAT, and we undertake no trading, therefore taxation is not an issue. We will however be obliged to file accounts in Portugal for our non-member rentals.

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.

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 additionally ask the board to review any purchase whose value exceeds €3000. And to propose firing him if they think there's someone better. 🤨

What happens if the property can't be acquired?

We'll give everyone the opportunity to withdraw their shares, or wait for another candidate to be proposed. Possibly candidate #2 in France as this has since returned to the market, but there's actually lots of others in Covilhã.

What happens if adequate capital is not raised?

The property purchase contract shall be negotiated with enough time flexibility to raise additional capital. Otherwise the deposit will be lost (it is non-refundable). You can check the current status of pledges, and share issues will be added here as they are made.

Renovation and fitout works will be scheduled according to available capital.

In the case of something not going to plan, a shareholder 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. 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.)

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 needed funds.

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?

You may withdraw shares, but not transfer them except upon death. After we receive a withdrawal request 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).

There is no fee for this and upon receipt you should declare it as a capital return with your tax authority to avoid taxation. Dividends shall continue to be paid until withdrawal is completed.

Transfer is permitted upon the shareholder's death or winding up, however only to a natural person or an asset-locked body, and such shares shall be withdrawn automatically twenty years after this date.

This mechanism is know as community shares, and prevents speculative trading by transfer, thus ensuring that the value of the co-operative's housing and services are fixed and accessible to all throughout its life.

If the property value appreciates, it is generally expected that the members shall leverage the value to purchase a new location thus creating additional value.

What is cofounder status, and what benefits do they gain?

They support the initial establishment and in return are given some privileges for this.

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 Portuguese beneficial owner register (RCBE) which is used by the revenue service. This register functions to make transparent the actual owners of companies and co-operatives alike that are incorporated outside of Portugal. If you are tax resident in Portugal you must provide your TIN, otherwise we will provide our tax representative on your behalf.

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.

Cohousing

These are a special class of unit in a dedicated building, each having independent outdoor access and for which shares are only issued in totality for an entire unit in permanence. Cohousing share owners have the same rights as any other member, except because of their generally larger shareholding, 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.

Operations

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 as they were for candidate #1.

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.

Bookings

How can I come and stay?

Simply book on the site, or ask a guide@hub.house. 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?

Preferential shares do not permit use, therefore by issuing a specific number of these (e.g. 30%) this ensures the corresponding proportion of availability to provide share use flexibility, and secondly to generate revenue from the resulting availability.

Share use is further given preference for advance bookings. Worst case scenario, there are bunkrooms for overlaps until a room becomes available. We may nonetheless reserve a proportion of rooms availability for last-minute share bookings. Specific rules can be decided each year at the annual meetings.

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.

When can I book a room?

We have two types of member, ordinary and (non-preferential) shareholders having use privileges (we'll think of better names).

Shareholders can book up to the limit of their shares (not exceeding the maximum stay), and as much as nine months in advance.

All other bookings may be made no more than two months in advance, until we reach 60% occupancy then no sooner than one month. Occupancy is measured as total days booked for the desired period, therefore it might be possible to book for a different period. 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.

How much share use do I have?

Every share having coliving use provides a use credit every year towards bookings. And any part that is unused is converted to dividends. The credited value may be revised from year to year, coliving shares shall initially have a value of €450. 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. Unused time at this point is credited as dividends (if any).

What are the costs for a room?

All rooms have separate rates that are charged daily for each season. See the booking form as this will display and calculate daily rates. There is also a booking fee that applies for every change (including change of room).

For ordinary members your rate is reduced the longer you stay, and includes both room and costs.

For shareholders, you pay only costs, unless you book longer than your share, when the rental rate corresponding to the entire booking shall apply (i.e. cheaper if longer).

Costs are charged for each guest at the same rate for everyone.

When do I have to pay?

If longer than six weeks, monthly in advance. Otherwise 30% at booking, and remainder by arrival.

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!

Sharing

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 unless you have cleared it with a guide. 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 the value of your time to another member's account to use. This is subject to seasonal review by the counsel and may be withdrawn or limits imposed. If you want to invite a colleague, or friend you must vouch for them as a new member (see following) then make the transfer.

What about sharing cohousing units?

There is no charge for your partner or first guest (i.e. a single contribution covers two people). Any more than this and the usual cost applies to each (including children).

Can I share my pass/account?

No. You will be called before the council whom are likely to revoke your membership as such behaviour breaches our principles of self-determination.

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. If you are rejected 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 not reviewed.

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.

Is there a membership fee?

No. Membership simply requires a shareholding. If you use your time allocation, you contribute to the costs at that time, if you do not, ideally the society will rent unused time which covers basic operations as well as creating a surplus to reinvest.

What do the monthly expenses that everyone pays include?

Your contribution towards all recurring costs. Such as taxes, utilities (electricity, internet,…), repairs and replacements (e.g. for bedding, new water heaters, painting,…), plus our volunteers, and not to forget a weekly communal meal.

If the costs are lower than the expenses, you will of course get the same proportion back as dividends. This is unlikely to happen though because we'll probably just throw a party or get better coffee. The council makes these decisions.

It's important to stress this include the cost of replacement equipment and decorations across over 20 years. Bedding replacement for example varies from 4 years for linens and protectors, to 10 for mattresses. This money is kept as a fund for whenever it's needed.

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.

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 15% fee. We don't want your dirty money. :-p Card and some electronic payments 5–10%. Bank transfers are free. Other members won't pay for your choice of financial instruments. No crypto, find your own currency dealer. :-p

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. If the new member is referred to the council within their first three months you will also be called before them.

Are children welcome?

Yes children are, however the hubs 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. However there are enough rooms around the buildings that this isn't likely to be an issue. There's also a 30m2 breakout room between the workspaces and common living areas that may be used by kids as a playroom if not otherwise reserved. The auditorium is also unlikely to be used much during daytime (perfect for making some noise), nor the event space above it, just make sure they're left as before—they're big spaces to clean!

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 counsel session to resolve it.

We will nonetheless maintain several dates throughout the year when children are welcome whatever their disposition.

It should be noted that not all areas will be safe. The bridge and front terraces will be fenced, and steps to workspaces, however other staircases will not and the gardens are steeply terraced with no fences. We'll definitely look at having a fenced area and shallow pool next to the stream… you should however expect to watch younger kids carefully except in the playroom.

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. Alternatively stay an entire semester and enrol in a local school (even if Portuguese may not be the most useful language…).

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. A few bedrooms, kitchenette, the living room and cohousing have step-free access (albeit via a long steep ramp), however the main kitchen, workspaces (except lobby/lab), and auditorium do not.

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 quiet workspace, lounge workspace, and library are always out of bounds. If somebody books with an allergy then you must keep them away from the other common indoor spaces (except lobby). They can wait outside the workspace, and part of the garden can be fenced off but you must of course clean up after them therefore dogs cannot be left unaccompanied in the rest of the garden.

Community contract

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 providing the council had less than 80% 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.

What is the board's role?

As a last-resort for the resolution of member issues, to advise on executive decisions and to call shareholder meetings. The board has no decision making ability itself.

Miscellaneous

What do the emojis on profiles mean?

We purposefully do not identify between different types of member. However we do indicate people whose roles or characteristics hold relevance.

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, as currently it employs the Hub House name.

What is the founder's responsibility and remuneration?

The founder will be contracted to provide operational management for two years in return for 5% equity. This covers 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 by them. 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…