Member Acceptance Policy
(The following policy was approved by the house, in its entirety, exactly as written below, 8-12-07; revised by house vote on 8-16-09, 8-23-09, 11-21-10, 6-26-11, and 8-5-12. Written in its entirety, up til 2012.
Sasona has an Open Membership policy.
No individual may sign an associate contract when the current total members are 28 or greater. Associates may still renew existing contracts. (Passed 10-0-1 on 1/24/2016) (Cap raised from 25 to 28 on 6/19/2016 by vote 9-0-1)
Quorum is required for acceptance of new members. (passed by house vote 2-8-2015)
In order to be accepted as a potential member, prospective members must attend two meetings. (Former members must also attend two meetings and go through the acceptance process again.) The purpose of the two meeting requirement is for the prospective members to get to know the house and vice versa. If someone can’t attend in person, they can attend the meeting by phone.
At each meeting, the meeting chair will ask the prospective member
- "Do you have any pets?" If so, the pets must also be accepted by the house." (Service animals and guide dogs are not considered pets and need not be accepted and deposits do not apply to them (cm-2016))
- “Why do you want to live in this co-op?” (motion passed 8/11/13).
- “The cooperative nature of our house requires that we do our share of the labor without being told. Will you agree to be responsible for five lumps of labor every week?” (motion passed 2/1/15)
After a prospective member is accepted, they will remain on the wait list for 6 months after their most recent meeting. In the case that they have to re-apply, they will be given a new spot on the waiting list based on their most recent second meeting.
The Second Meeting
At the second meeting, all non-members will then be asked to leave the room, and the Meeting Chair will ask, “Does anyone have any compelling evidence of why Fred could be evicted from the house (including for non-payment of rent, abusive behavior, disrupting the right of quiet enjoyment, instilling fear in others, and any other evictable behavior)?” (Evidence includes personal testimony or any other reason one might have.) If no one does, then Fred is accepted as a potential member. He can then sign a contract.
If someone does bring up compelling evidence of why Fred could be evicted, then the meeting will discuss it. (The Membership Coordinator will discreetly inform the prospective member that we are discussing their application; they will be asked to leave and told that we will inform them of our decision as soon as possible. Other non-members will also be asked to leave, after being informed of their acceptance status, so that members can have a private discussion.)
Members can state an objection to the evidence, if the evidence does not seem to be a valid reason that someone could be evicted from the house. If no one objects to the evidence which has been brought up, then the meeting will vote on Fred's membership.
In a member acceptance vote, two people can block a member's acceptance. (Quorum is not required.) If he is not accepted, he cannot sign a contract, and he cannot become a member.
If someone does object to the evidence presented by stating that it is not a valid reason that Fred could be evicted from the house, then the meeting will vote on whether the evidence is valid. A simple majority vote (more than 50%) is required to accept the evidence as valid. If the evidence is accepted as valid, a vote on Fred's membership will take place (which, as described above, can be blocked by two members). If the evidence is not accepted as valid, the vote on Fred's membership will not occur, and Fred will be accepted as a potential member. People who are accepted as members will be put on the ProspectiveMembersWaitingList. When a room is available, all of the members of the house (who can switch rooms if they want) and all people on the waiting list will be alerted. If more than one person is interested in a room, who gets the room needs to be determined.
At the second meeting all prospective members will be asked by the meeting chair: "The cooperative nature of our house requires that we do our share of the labor without being told. Will you agree to be responsible for five lumps of labor every week?" (passed by house vote 2-1-2015)
Member Acceptance Flow Chart
Here's an attempt to simplify the above policy in a flow chart:
1. The Meeting Chair asks, “Does anyone have any compelling evidence of why Fred could be evicted from the house (including for non-payment of rent, abusive behavior, disrupting the right of quiet enjoyment, instilling fear in others, and any other evictable behavior)?”
- 1.a. No one presents any compelling evidence. Fred is accepted.
- 1.b. Someone presents compelling evidence. Go to 2.
2. The Meeting Chair will ask if anyone objects to the evidence which has been presented.
- 2.a. No one objects to the evidence that has been presented. Go to 4.
- 2.b. Someone objects to the evidence that has been presented. Go to 3.
3. The meeting will vote on whether the evidence is valid.
- 3.a. More than 50% vote that the evidence is valid. Go to 4.
- 3.b. 50% or less vote that the evidence is valid. Fred is accepted.
4. A vote is taken on whether to accept Fred as a member.
- 4.a. Less than two people vote to block Fred's acceptance. Fred is accepted.
- 4.b. Two or more people vote to block Fred's acceptance. Fred is not accepted.
At any point in the process, a simple majority vote (more than 50%) can require additional membership meetings to further discuss the member's potential acceptance. (Quorum is not required.) This can be used in complicated cases, or in situations where more evidence needs to be gathered or additional persons need to be at the meeting to give their points of view.
Reconsideration of Acceptance
Any 2 members can add to the house-meeting agenda an eligibility review of any approved prospective member on the waitlist. The review requires that the second meeting question about evictable offenses be asked again to membership. [House voted 2023-1-22]
Who Gets the Room?
People are given priority to sign for a room according to the following, from most to least priority:
1. Members with the most seniority (seniority determined by earliest move-in date)
2. Associate members with the most seniority (who have been members more than 1 month)
3. Prospective members
(Note: Associate Members must be members for more than 1 month before they get priority over other prospective members.)
Which Prospective Member Gets the Room?
To determine which prospective member gets the room, these questions will be asked:
1) Can you pay the $500 deposit and sign a contract to secure the room? (We do not allow people to sign a contract without first paying the deposit in full.)
2) Can you sign a 6 month lease? (We do not allow initial leases to be less than 6 months.)
3) If you have any pets, are they all compliant with the House Pet Policy? Were your pets accepted by the house (at the meeting, did you tell us you had pets, and they were accepted)? Are you moving into an area of the house that allows pets? Your pets must be compliant with the Pet Policy, and they must be accepted by the house, and they must be in an area where pets are allowed, or else they can’t move in.
4) Can you sign a contract that begins on the date the room opens up? (If not, tell us the earliest date you can move in.) (You don’t necessarily have to move in that day, but your contract has to start then, and you have to be available to do labor.)
5) Can you pay first month's rent in full within one week of the beginning of your contract? (If not, why?)
6) Will you agree to be responsible for five lumps of labor every week? (If not, why?)
7) Have you read the house rules and can you agree to follow them?
The Membership Coordinator can email out the above questions to the prospective members, and decide who gets the room based on their answers.
In email and posted correspondence with prospective resident members, Membership Coordinator will explicitly state a closing date for each vacancy. This closing date/expected response time must never be under 24 hours. (Passed 10-0-1 on 7/17/16)
Regardless of their spot on the Waiting List, the person who can answer Yes to all of these questions gets the room. These questions are written in order of priority. If Fred answers Yes to 4 but No to 5 (assuming that Fred has a good reason for not being able to pay rent immediately), and Bob answers No to 4 but Yes to 5, then Fred will get the room.
If they answer No to questions number 1, 2, or 3, they cannot sign a contract. An initial contract may not be signed unless the deposit has been paid first, and it cannot be signed for less than 6 months. If their pets have not been accepted or are not compliant with Pet Policy, then the pets cannot move in… and, presumably, the owners will not move in without their pets.
If no one can answer Yes to question 4, give the room to whoever can move in closest to the date the room opens. If that will leave the room open for an unacceptable amount of time (more than a week?), the Membership Coordinator can continue looking for someone else who can move in sooner.
If they cannot answer Yes to question 5, they must have a really good reason. “I don’t have a job” is not a good reason. If someone doesn’t have a job and cannot pay the first month’s rent within a week of the beginning of their contract, they cannot move in. If they get their paycheck a little bit too late to pay on time, and they should have no problem paying rent after that, that is acceptable.
8) Are you willing to sign a year-long lease?
9) If you don't get a room now, will you be unable to move in a few months from now if another room opens up? (If you answer No, that means your living situation is flexible enough that you might be able to move in a few months from now.)
What if they’re Tied?
If they both answer Yes to these questions, then they are Tied. In the case of a tie, they have to wrestle in the compost pile. Just kidding. In the case of a tie, we flip a coin. The person whose last name comes first alphabetically is Heads. If they have the same last name, then use their first name. If their first name is the same, use their middle name. If they have the exact same name, that is some freaky shit. The person whose birthday comes first is Heads. If THAT doesn’t work, the Membership Coordinator can arbitrarily decide who gets Head. Whoever wins the coin flip gets the room.
(The above policy was approved by the house 8-12-07; revised by house vote on 8-16-09 and 8-23-09. Written in its entirety, up til 2012, by Patrick Parker.)
A volunteer from the house acts as an ombudsman for the new person, and shows them the house in a meet and greet, and that all new people will be placed at the top of the agenda at their first meeting, with an intro between themselves and the house. For the first meeting, the new person will be told that they may stay as long as they like, but may leave when they like. (Voted on 2-26-06.)
From the HouseRules
2. Application, Acceptance Availability
2.1 Applicant must complete an application for the house approved by the board.
2.2 Application must receive a 90% majority vote at a house meeting to be accepted.
2.3 House meetings are intended to familiarize the house with the applicant and vice versa. At least 2 house meetings must be attended by the applicant before the house may vote on their acceptance, unless there is acceptable reason to prevent the applicant from attending. More meetings may be requested of the applicant at any time up until the final vote, in order to ensure that the house and the applicant understand the needs of one another.
2.4 Voting on membership is compulsory of all current members of the house.
2.4.1 Contract renewal is not guaranteed by the house, although it is generally assumed of anybody who is on good terms with the house and the houses account.
2.4.2 The house will attempt to maintain a 1:1 sex ratio whenever conveniently possible.
2.6 CHEA does not discriminate based on sex, religion, sexual orientation, Gender Identity, race, political belief, national origin, handicap, or other characteristics a person may have.
2.7 No non-emancipated persons under the age of 18 shall be admitted as members of CHEA
Fair Housing Act
PDF about how the FHA relates to coops: Letter from lawyer re FHA and coops.pdf
Powerpoint of Daniel Miller's 2010 NASCO Institute course on FHA: FHA and coops powerpoint presentation.ppt
PDF of Daniel Miller's 2010 NASCO Institute course on FHA: FHA and coops powerpoint presentation PDF
PDF of parker's notes on Daniel Miller's 2010 NASCO Institute course on FHA: FHA class notes
FHA Policy Recommendations from NASCO Properties: FHA Policy Recommendations from NP
Sec.A31.006. EFFECT OF GENERAL REMOVAL. A Except for specific constitutional and statutory age requirements, a minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes has the capacity of an adult, including the capacity to contract. Except as provided by federal law, all educational rights accorded to the parent of a student, including the right to make education decisions under Section 151.003(a)(10), transfer to the minor whose disabilities are removed for general purposes.
The House Rules were written at a time when all votes, in order to pass, had to be approved by 90% of the votes. The voting majority changed to 75%+ ca 2006 (or something). The Member Acceptance policy was amended to read "two people can block a member's acceptance" (among other major changes) on 8-5-12.