The membership committee created this FAQ to help field common questions from members of our co-op. See the menu below for the topics we cover.
Okanagan Housing Co-op FAQ
- Internal moves
- Common law/partner/other adult occupant moving in
- Welcoming a pet to the home
- Leaving the membership
- I have a problem with my neighbor
- My partner and I are separating, what do we need to know?
- Associate membership vs. Principal membership
- What kind of changes can I make to my unit
- How can I complete my volunteer requirements?
- Something in my home is broken/in disrepair
- What is “Conduct Detrimental to the Co-op”?
How do I get in touch with the board
– Internal moves
You can apply to another unit within the co-op by notifying the membership committe of your request in writing.
Vacant units are offered and selected for in the following priority:
- Members on the internal waiting list
- Member responding to a posted advertisement of an upcoming vacancy
- Pre-approved members from an external waiting list
You must be a member in good standing and have sufficient household income (or income with available subsidy) to meet financial obligations for the new unit.
Special needs units are only offered to households that meet the criteria for those units.
Apply here: https://form.jotform.com/OKHC/internal-move-request
Further details are found in the member selection section of the OKHC Association Policy Manual (2009 Policies)
– Common law/partner/other adult occupant moving in
Any adult person may stay with you in your unit as a guest for thirty days. For those thirty days you, as a member, take full responsibility for your guest’s behavior. Liability for any deviation from the co-op rules on the part of the guest falls on you. That means your membership can be terminated due to improper actions of your guest.
Any adult that wishes to stay past thirty days in your unit must apply for residency to the membership committee, and a criminal record check be provided.
The other adult occupant is not a principal member, and will not be considered as such should you move out and they wish to takeover the unit. See FAQ item 6 below.
– Welcoming a pet to the home
You are allowed one cat or dog per unit (dog must measure 14” or less at the shoulder). Guide dogs, or other assistance dogs are not included in this number.
You may also have contained pets (fish, birds, gerbils, hamsters or guinea pig). The board may withhold permission for other contained pets.
You must register your pet with the co-op and provide proof that the pet is spayed/neutered and vaccinated.
Your pet must wear identification, be leashed and not be left unattended when outside.
You must immediately pickup after your pet and are responsible for any damage caused by your pet.
Further details are found in the pet policy section of the OKHC Association Policy Manual (2009 Policies)
– Leaving the membership
There are many different reasons a member may decide to leave the co-op. It is important to remember we have a protocol in place. A member may withdraw from membership in the co-op by:
A) giving to the co-op at least 60 days written notice, calculated from the last day of the month in which the notice is given, or
B) with the written consent of the Directors by giving less than 60 days written notice.
Death of a principal member:
Provide proof satisfactory to the Directors of death of the member. If there is an adult residing in the unit as their principal residence on a full-time basis, they can apply for membership. They will have to be able to prove on their own merit they can satisfy all the requirements to be a member in our co-op.
– I have a problem with my neighbor
Any member having a dispute with another member of the co-operative is encouraged to first attempt to resolve the dispute with the other parties to the dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved by the parties involved, a member wishing to initiate a resolution of the dispute may submit the dispute in writing to the directors. Upon receipt of the written dispute, the directors must review the dispute and may try to promptly resolve that dispute as mediator.
It is important to note: being a good neighbour involves you taking the steps to resolve the issue yourself. We understand that these can be mentally/emotionally charged situations, yet part of our diplomatic process is to take the steps to find resolution between the parties without management involvement.
The board of directors are volunteers that are to handle the management of our property and membership. They aren’t here to micromanage neighbour disputes if you have not taken the steps to address it properly.
How to handle a neighbourly dispute:
Before the Conversation:
- Prepare in advance: Plan out what you want to say to your neighbour before you talk to them. It may be helpful to write down what you want to say so you can refer to it during your conversation.
- Define the issue: Make sure that you can clearly describe the issue, and what is causing it.
- Describe why the issue is important to you: it is often useful to discuss why the issue is important to you, rather than focusing on the problem itself. By explaining why an issue is important to you, you and your neighbour may be able to find a compromise that meets everyone’s needs.
- Consider possible solutions: brainstorm possible solutions to the problem before talking to your neighbour. When thinking of possible solutions, why to consider your neighbour’s point of view. If you think you have identified a possible solutions, make sure you can clearly describe what everyone will have to do.
- Choose an appropriate time: Choose a time for your conversation that works well for everyone. If you or your neighbour feel rushed, you may feel flustered or overwhelmed.
During the Conversation
- Be polite and considerate.
- Avoid using accusatory language and blaming.
- Listen closely and acknowledge your neighbours’s point of view
- If you don’t understand something your neighbour has said, ask them to clarify.
- Try to keep the conversation friendly. Remember that you and your neighbour probably have the same long-term goals, and that you may be living close to them for years.
- Try to keep calm. Remember that this may be the first time your neighbour is hearing about the issue.
After the Conversation
- Take note of what was said, and the date and time of your conversation .
- If an agreement has been reached, you may want to write it down and share a copy with your neighbour.
- Follow through with anything you commit to doing, and follow-up with your neighbour if they have committed to doing something.
- If the issue comes up again, try speaking to your neighbour again. There might be a simple misunderstanding.
If after all of this, you have spoken to your neighbour and the issue is still ongoing, now is the appropriate time to email the board of directors advising them of what transpired, the steps you took to remedy it, and what rules, agreements, or policies were violated.
We can’t build a community if we do not try to unify together. We are stronger when we overcome obstacles and gain a deeper understanding and relationship with our fellow neighbours and members.
– My partner and I are separating, what do we need to know?
The principal member is the one with his/her/they name on the equity shares. The principal may stay in the unit. The associate member/spouse/partner may choose to apply for membership on their own merit if they wish to remain in the co-op.
The membership committee and board of directors only needs to know when you have come to a decision on separation.
If the principal member decides they are vacating, so too must the rest of household OR another adult may apply for membership. They will have to go through an unit inspection, submit an application, review, and interview process — just like a new member.
It is not assumed that the equity shares will be transferred in their entirety as it depends on the condition in which the unit is left in by the principal member.
There are no shortcuts. We understand that these situations are often time sensitive and will do our best to expedite the process. Be mindful that if the principal member decides to leave the membership, this is classified as termination of membership and you have 60 days to get everything in order; otherwise the unit must be completely vacated. It is up to the adult occupant applying for membership to ensure the membership committee has a full completed application with all supporting documents.
– Associate membership vs. Principal membership
It is in our co-op rules and occupancy agreement that define the difference in membership and responsibilities. Our co-op does not allow “joint membership”.
Principal Membership: Also known as the “primary member”, that pays the main occupancy shares and is the “member” that signs the occupancy agreement. This member is responsible for ensuring volunteer hours, occupancy fees, and all other member co-op responsibilities are being met: such as attendance of AGM meetings and voting.
Associate Membership: The associate membership’s only benefit is to be the proxy vote in the event the principal member is not your spouse and is unable to attend the Annual General Meeting.
Being an associate member does not give you any entitlement to tenure in the event of death or separation from the primary member.
– What kind of changes can I make to my unit?
You are allowed to make aesthetic changes to your unit such as but not limited to: painting walls, hanging decorative items from walls or ceiling, changing your flooring, countertops, and lighting fixtures.
You are not allowed to make any structural changes to your unit as per our rules, occupancy agreement, and policies.
– How can I complete my volunteer requirements?
First let’s understand who is responsible for volunteer hours: the principal member. This is the person responsible for ensuring that the volunteering was completed. Anyone from your home is able to participate in volunteering.
The idea around volunteering essentially is around community participation and engagement. The needs of our community or your area/phase can change during the year or on the membership’s needs.
The goal is for all 58 units to give 4 hours of their time each month. It is important to remember that you agreed to this commitment when you joined our co-op. This is part of ensuring your membership remains in good standing.
The only way you will know the needs is to know your neighbours. To talk with them regularly about how you/they think things are going, what can you/we do to solve “x” problem or issue. Is there an area you could take initiative in? Talking to your neighbours, reading the newsletters, and taking pride in our co-op is around community participation. This in addition to taking care of your interior and exterior of your home.
Think back to when you applied to the co-op, what did you think you would volunteer in? How did you want to engage the community?
You can complete your monthly 4 hour requirements in various ways, but not limited to:
- Sweeping/shovelling walk ways — taking initiative communicating with your neighbours to see if you can collectively make an effort. Many hands makes for easy work.
- Raking leaves during the fall — not just at “fall clean ups”
- Pulling weeds in common areas (walkways, park, basketball court, entrances, dog park)
- Social — let’s not let COVID put a damper on community engagement, virtual or physically distant options are available!
- Is there different clubs or groups with common interests that we can start?
- Ex: video games, board games, reading, cooking/baking, art, foodies, sports, movies
- Neighbours — is there a fellow co-op member that needs assistance? Helping maintain their area? Help fixing something? Do you need help with something?
- Is there something you’d like to share? Are you creative? Are you a poet? Do you create art that you would like to share? Do you write stories? Write comics? Are you a DIY person — have tips to share? Do you bake/cook and have awesome recipes to share?
- Do you love sharing information? Are there skills you can teach?
- Is there different clubs or groups with common interests that we can start?
- Joining the Board of Directors
- Leading a task force or committee
- Task force — a group created with a specific goal in mind, example: spring/fall clean up. Happens on a date, execution, and then the task force is completed. You don’t meet up again once the goal is achieved.
- Committee — depending on the type, is working together for a regular function: membership committee, outdoor committee (which ideally uses task forces to execute specific goals; such as semi annual cleanups).
- Mandatory volunteer participation
- Spring and fall clean ups
- Planning, phone tree, distribution of notices, labour, donation of food, childcare etc
- Spring and fall clean ups
– Something in my home is broken/in disrepair
Members must immediately report, in writing, any building or property damage or needed repairs that may pose a health, safety, or financial risk to the co-op. Contact [email protected]
Minor repairs and maintenance under $50 are the responsibility of the member.
Repairs over $50 and are from wear and tear — not occupant related damage, is to notify the property manager at [email protected] as soon as possible. The property manager will contact the appropriate people to have it inspected.
Appliances, equipment and furnishings supplied by the co-op will be kept in working order and usable condition.
If in the event you have not heard back from the property manager within 24 hours, please send another email to [email protected] and your phase coordinator.
– What is “Conduct Detrimental to the Co-op”
As defined by our rules:
Conduct detrimental to the co-op can include, but is not limited to: such things as
- Failure to comply, or failure to ensure compliance by an resident or person visiting the member, with any term or provision of:
- These rules or the Occupancy Agreement; or
- Any house rules or policy which may be in effect
- Causing, permitting, or threatening wilful damage to the property or physical premises of the co-op or the unit
- Causing, permitting, or threatening violence directed against persons on the co-op property
- Unauthorized detention of property of the co-op; or
- Causing, permitting, or threatening injury or harm to the reputation of the co-op
Witnessing or having any of these instances directed at you should be reported immediately to the board of directors. If you are in fear for your life or threats have been made against you either call 911 or non-emergency 250-762-3300. Please email your phase coordinator.
– How do I get in touch with the board
president: [email protected]
vice president: [email protected]
treasurer: [email protected]
secretary: [email protected]
phase 1 coordinator: [email protected]
phase 2 coordinator: [email protected]
phase 3 coordinator: [email protected]
Questions about transferring units or welcoming new people into your home should be directed to the membership committee: [email protected]