Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative


Thank you for your interest in The Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative. On this webpage you will find more information about the co-operative and how it works. We hope that it will answer any questions you might have. If you are interested in having further information please contact us on either 01685 727786 or email us at info@taffechancoop.cymru

 

Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative

The Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative is part of a £7m regeneration of the area of Gellideg. The regeneration includes a new eco centre being built by the Gellideg Foundation. The eco centre’s facilities will include training facilities and a community gym, which the Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative members will be able to take advantage of. In addition, Merthyr Valleys Homes are building their new head office along Lansbury Road. These changes will together make a lasting change to this area. The Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative is also less than 1km away from the Cyfarthfa Retail Park which is home to a number of retail outlets such as Debenhams and Next, with Marks & Spencer opening a new store in October 2015. There are great road links too, with both the A470 and A465 within easy reach.

 

Being a member of a Co-operative

All co-operative members will have a right to vote. The co-operative runs by having a general meeting or by electing a committee. Running a co-operative is no different from running other types of organisations like a local rugby or football club or an allotment society. A Chair and a Secretary are elected by the members, agendas and dates for meetings are set and the co-operative establishes rules as to how the meetings will be run. Most co-operatives meet monthly, and depending on the business, the meeting can last an hour or two (but this is very much up to the individuals involved). Early support and training will be provided by Merthyr Valleys Homes.

 

The type of things the housing co-operative needs to consider are:

 

  • Managing the budgets or deciding where your rent will be spent.
  • Deciding which and how repairs will be done.
  • Agreeing membership rules.
  • Agreeing on the letting of empty properties when people leave.
  • Agreeing what to do with any surplus monies (please note surpluses cannot be paid back to members but collectively you can agree additional or different services

 

How long does a tenancy last for?

If you pay your rent, abide by your conditions of tenancy and remain a member of the co-operative then the tenancy could last your lifetime.  There is however a safety net if the co-operative fails and the members end to dissolve the co-operative. In this event Merthyr Valleys Homes will manage the flats and the co-operative members will be able to convert their tenancy into a Merthyr Valleys Homes tenancy (provided you are not in any substantial breach of the co-operative tenancy).  Individuals will only be given this option if the co-operative ceases to operate.

Like every form of tenancy, the co-operative expects its members and tenants to act reasonably, to abide by the conditions of their tenancy agreement and to be a co-operative member.  If you are a good tenant and co-operate with your neighbours then co-operative housing is a secure place to live.

 

Who can live in the co-operative?

The apartments are situated in a three storey building, with the first and second floors being accessed by stairs only. Due to the design of the building and the size of the apartments, they would be better suited to single people, couples or a small family. The maximum occupation number is three people living in the apartment.

The Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative welcomes interest from working people, and from people who are willing to help and support the co-operative by participating in the running of the co-operative. We are looking for people who are willing to make a positive impact in the Gellideg community and who can bring skills to this area.

If demand for the apartments is high, the final preference will be to those people who best meet the allocations criteria. For the first 12 tenants, Merthyr Valleys Homes will decide (using the allocations criteria) - after that the co-operative will be responsible for filling vacancies and finding new members.

 

Who controls the co-operatives money?

The co-operative will have a bank account like every other business or public body, and the members will be the bank signatories for paying out the money. Until this account is established and payment controls are put in place Merthyr Valleys Homes will have responsibility for the finances of the co-operative.

The accounts of a co-operative must be audited and every member will be receive a copy of the audited accounts and the auditor’s report.  It is up to the members to ensure their money is spent wisely and fairly. As a co-operative, the members will be responsible for making sure the co-operative pays the bills, and budgets for:

 

  • Repairs and provision for future repairs
  • Lease costs on the block of flats that are set out in the business plan
  • Management and running costs of the co-operative
  • Cleaning and gardening costs
  • Audited accounts

Within the co-operative rent are two accumulating sums of money:

  1. 1.    Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative surplus

This is a sum of money that builds up during the life of the co-operative. It will be larger if members opt to do certain repairs themselves. For example, if the co-operative choose to clean the communal areas themselves the savings will go into the surplus. 

 

  1. 2.    Co-operative members’ refundable deposit

There is no deposit required if you wish to join the co-operative, but all members will have the opportunity to build up a 2% refundable deposit.  After five years of being part of the co-operative the deposit could be over £2,000. Therefore, the co-operative could be a great way to help build a deposit for owning your own home. This is only refundable if the property is returned in good condition and with no outstanding debt.  If housing benefit is claimed this element of the rent might not be eligible for housing benefit.

As a co-operative member it is important that you follow the co-operative principles and balance the budgets. Individual members must abide by both the membership rules and their tenancy agreement, but they are not liable for the debts of the co-operative, other than for their £1 membership. 

 

Eco housing

The Taf Fechan Housing Co-operative has already included a number of energy efficient measures into its design. The building has external wall insulation that brings the properties up to a much higher energy efficiency rating, thus making the flats warm and lowers heating bills.

The co-operative building will have solar panels on the roof. Each flat is individually metered and the energy generated by the panels will be taken off the electricity bill for the block. Each flat has an individual smart meter and the co-operative members are charged at a lower rate per unit for the electricity they use in their flats. Until it is up and running it is difficult to calculate the full cost of electricity per unit recharged, but early estimates are that it could mean a 15% reduction.

Another eco feature of the co-operative is that each flat will be linked to the ‘Digital Merthyr’ Wi-Fi service. There will initially be no charge for this service, but going forward the service will be provided at a discounted rate.

 

Taf Fechan

 

 


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