These are the bylaws for Qumbya Housing Cooperative (Chicago, IL). Qumbya is a multi-house system with 3 houses and about 50 members. It has one part-time staff person.
Governance Info / Legal Documents
The is the Payment Policy from Qumbya Housing Co-op (Chicago, IL) as of 2013. This policy was created in 2008 out of a response to series of siginificant member debt losses. The policy is relatively strict by co-op standards. It does allow for payment plans, which may be up to 2 months in duration, and must be approved before a debt is accrued, not after. The wisdom gained from the series of losses which we attempted to base this polic on are:
* If a member gets more than 2 months behind on rent, they are very unlikely to ever catch up.
These sample bylaw can give you an idea of some simple boilerplate language for incorporating your coop. Of course, a coop should get these bylaws looked at before submitting them, but these should give you a good idea of what you may want to do, and let you change things where you need to do so in order to make these match your needs.
Creating bylaws and policy in student cooperatives
This is a clear, easy to read description of the process MSU-SHC follows in handling non-payment by members. The simple calendar format communicates deadlines and repercussions in a way that our members find accessible.
One of the first steps to getting your coop incorporated is to write articles of incorporation for your state. Most states deal with this through the office of the Secretary of State, but a few don't. Articles themselves, though, are a fairly simple document, even if the whole thing is in legalese. One thing about Articles of Incorporation is that they are a brief document, and you can read through them in just a minute or so. The contents are simple enough that you should be able to get an idea of what you would need to change in reading them, and then those changes can be run by
Policies on member debt, from College Houses (Austin, TX).
Tools for developing your vision
Attached you will find the MSU Student Housing Cooperative's Code of Operations. The code is their collection of corporate policies. It changes and grows as their membership's needs change and grow. Changes to the Code of Operations are generally made by their Board of Directors, but they can also be changed by the membership through a petition and referendum process.