Being Your Own Landlord
Our Co-operative Development Worker, Alice Hemming currently lives in a housing co-operative in Oxford. She is hosting a workshop on 4th December 2023 called “Be Your Own Landlord”. In this interactive workshop, she will cover what a housing co-op is and how you can set one up! Register for your free place here.
“I’ve lived in a housing co-op in Oxford for over 7 and a half years. This is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, even as a child. It’s been a home, a community, and a place of security for me over this time. I’ve loved living in a housing co-op and consider myself very lucky.
So what is a housing co-op?
A housing co-operative allows people to have more control their housing. Rather than a landlord owning the house you rent, the house is owned “in common” by the co-operative, which is a not-for-profit entity. Everyone who lives in the house is a ‘member’ and has a say in how the house is managed. This means that they have more security of tenancy and don’t have to wait for a landlord for months to fix broken things! The rent paid by members is used to run and maintain the house. But because the co-operative is a not-for-profit, rent is often lower than average market rents, making it a more affordable way to live, especially in expensive cities like Oxford.
There are hundreds of housing co-operatives all over the UK, with 5 housing co-ops in Oxford.
Co-operatives come in all shapes and sizes – from a 4 bedroom semi-detached house, like mine, shared with others to “co-housing” project with multiple homes housing individuals and families. However, between these different types of co-ops there is often a shared ethos of collective responsibility and community. Co-operatives suit people who like living and working with other people and are excited by a more DIY approach.
For example, in the housing co-op I live in, we share cooking and eat together most evenings and often host community meetings and parties. We have a vegetable garden and fruit trees which we look after together, and we recently were able to decorate our house and paint the walls pretty colours (a privilege that you don’t have in rented accommodation)! Living in a housing co-op was a lifeline for me during the pandemic – having a caring community that I lived in meant that I didn’t feel as isolated, and I knew my tenancy was secure despite losing work during the lock down.”
Find out more!
If you’re interested in learning more about housing co-operatives there are loads of resources out there including:
- Community-led Homes: https://www.communityledhomes.org.uk/
- Confederation of Co-operative Housing: https://www.cch.coop/
- Radical Routes: https://www.radicalroutes.org.uk/
- Collaborative Housing Hub (Thames Valley including Oxfordshire): https://collaborativehousing.org.uk/
If you are interested in setting up a new housing co-op, we can provide support. Get in touch with Alice to have an initial conversation – email@example.com