What is a housing co-operative?


A Housing Co-operative is a group of people who, together, manage and control the homes they live in.


A Co-op is different from a Housing Association / Council in that most of the work of running the co-op is done by the tenants themselves. Housing Co-ops are about more than just housing people. Most people like to feel they are a community.



Being a tenant of a co-op is more than just paying rent and reporting repairs. It also involves taking part in the running of the co-op, contributing to the decision making by attending meetings which are held regularly and by doing some of the work involved in carrying out those decisions.


Taking part in decision making gives you more say and more control over the service you receive. How many times have you thought that a repair would have been carried out differently if you were paying the bill? With Housing Co-operatives, through your rent you are.



Before moving into the Co-operative you must buy a £1 share. This is your membership of the Housing Co-operative and allows you all the rights and privileges that members of Housing Co-operatives enjoy.

These include:

  • The right to a property.
  • The right to Vote at meetings.
  • The right to decide what sort of service should be provided and how.
  • The right to be involved.


No, you can determine how quickly repairs should be carried out and who by, but most Co-operatives choose to use contractors to actually carry out the work.


Co-operatives help train members and they also use professionals for the donkeywork, but also REMEMBER… The best people to decide anything about a house are the people that live in it…. YOUR VOICE IS IMPORTANT.



Only people who would be categorised as being in housing need through Vale’s local housing waiting list.



Housing Co-ops give people a chance to become involved in the house they live in, and to take part in all discussions and decisions that affect their home.


Obviously, this only works if members take the trouble to turn up to meetings and to find out what is going on. This is new in Oxford. In Birmingham where this is well established they typically have meetings about once a month for a couple of hours.


If someone is not interested in coming to meetings and putting a bit of time and effort to make things right, then they may be better off in a Council or Housing Association tenancy.


So, a Co-op is aimed at those interested in finding out more about what is going on; who want to have a say in what happens to their house or flat; and who are prepared to join together to make the Co-op work.


  • Be prepared to come to meetings. A Co-op can not run well or in some circumstances even survive without members putting some effort into it.
  • Be prepared to learn how Co-ops work by talking to people from other Co-ops.
  • Be honest about why you want to join a housing Co-operative.
  • Be prepared to share responsibilities and decision making at committee and general meetings. Most important of all, attend the meetings.