Agree on management
At this scale, your collaborative housing project will involve just a few households who are likely to know each other well. All the same, some kind of agreement for how you’ll make decisions and ‘manage’ your small community will be required. This makes sure everyone has the same expectations and helps to deal with potential conflicts.
Develop a plan
It’s important to develop a common vision early on, combined with a plan for how the group wants to operate. This will help households to agree on what’s important and share expectations about how things are going to work. You can document basic arrangements for cost sharing, maintenance, how you’ll share common spaces and facilities and how you’ll deal with conflicts if they arise.
Know the legal governance obligations
Different ownership and legal structures (e.g. Strata, Cooperative, Company) will have their own governance obligations that need to be followed and fulfilled. These requirements are important to understand and meet, however they do not need to limit your decision-making structure. You could develop a more inclusive structure that meets these requirements while also addressing other parts of the community vision.
Governance in collaborative housing commonly emphasises resident participation, usually with decision-making based around some form of deliberation and discussion aimed at reaching consensus. The aim is to foster cooperation and collaboration, create a sense of ownership, and allow for adaptable and customised living solutions.
In small communities of a few households governance structures are likely to be relatively simple and informal, however groups may want to learn from some of the governance models used in larger communities.
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