The Allocations Group co-ordinates our process for application and
acceptance into membership of the Co-op. This group is often the first
point of contact for applicants, and aims to inform and educate
prospective members so that they feel capable of getting involved and
becoming part of the community. They also provide assistance to members
seeking to fill voids in their shared houses in a timely manner.
In line with the first Co-op principle of voluntary and open membership,
the Allocations Group seeks to ensure that membership is open to all
wishing to apply and willing to take on the responsibilities of communal
living and co-operation.
Role of the Allocations Group
The Allocations Group are responsible for:
Running Open Evenings
Conducting shortlist interviews
Managing the shortlist
Ensuring voids are filled in a timely manner
Co-ordinating the allocation of any flats that become vacant
Reporting to General Meetings about the functions of the group
The Allocations Co-ordinators are responsible for ensuring that this
work gets done, although any members of the Group and/or staff may
assist the Co-ordinators.
All prospective members applying to the Co-operative must be:
Aged 18 or over
In housing need
Have some understanding and/or experience of living in shared accommodation
Willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, which can include attending meetings, joining working groups, participating in running the Co-op etc>
All applicants will be invited to an Open Evening, which are usually held once a month.
Applicants will receive an application pack at the Open Evening and must complete the application form and return it to the Co-op to continue the process.
Upon receipt of an application form, applicants will be invited to attend a General Meeting of the Co-operative.
If an applicant has attended an Open Evening, submitted an application form, and attended a General Meeting, they will be invited to a shortlist interview.
Shortlist interviews are conducted to assess whether applicants fulfil the Co-op's membership criteria, and whether the Co-op can meet the housing needs of applicants.
Interviews are usually conducted monthly.
Interviews are conducted by at least two members who do not know
The Co-op is currently following legislation on conducting
immigration checks for housing applicants. Suitable ID (listed
in Appendix 1 should be brought to the shortlist interview.
Interviewers should seek to make a unanimous decision as to the
applicants' suitability for membership.
If an applicant is accepted at interview and has provided valid
identification, they will be added to the Co-op shortlist and
may begin applying to shared houses for a room.
If an applicant is not accepted at the shortlist interview, they
may request a second interview by different members. This second
interview will be a final decision on the matter.
Applicants who are added to the Co-op shortlist may remain on it
for six months. If they wish to stay on the shortlist after six
months has passed they may request a six month extension.
Any applicant who has been on the shortlist for a year must
request to be re-interviewed if they wish to remain on the
shortlist (he Co-op will assess whether the applicant still
meets the membership criteria.
All applicants on the Co-op shortlist are deemed to have equal
The Co-op will provide all applicants with a list of houses with
current voids, and all houses with voids will be provided with
an up-to-date Co-op shortlist. Applicants are encouraged to
apply directly to houses with voids.
Allocation - Shared Houses
Houses with voids are encouraged to interview at least three
applicants from the shortlist for any vacant room in the house.
Houses with voids should seek to fill vacant rooms:
Within 8 weeks of the day the vacating member gave notice (if moving out of the Co-op),
Within 6 weeks of the day the vacating member gave notice (if transferring within the Co-op) or,
If no notice was given, within 4 weeks of the day the room became vacant.
An applicant may seek a tenancy for a room within a shared house with the written consent of two thirds of the members residing in that property. The applicant will then make arrangements with the Co-op office to sign a tenancy and a membership agreement, and commence paying rent.
If a shared house fails to fill its void in the time allotted, the Allocations Group will select three applicants from the shortlist and invite them to be interviewed by the house. The house must then interview these applicants within 7 days.
If the house fails to allocate the room to one of these applicants, then the room will be offered to applicants on the shortlist directly, starting with the applicant who has been on the shortlist the longest and working down until an applicant is found who is willing to fill the vacancy.
Allocation - Flats
When a flat becomes or is known to be becoming vacant, the following
procedure will apply:
The Allocations Group will invite members to nominate themselves to be part of a Flat Allocation panel.
The panel should consist of no fewer than 3 members, and should aim to as diverse as possible.
The Allocations Group will invite any of its members and any applicants on the shortlist to declare an interest in applying for the flat. The Allocations Group will set a deadline for declaring interest. Applicants should complete a form identifying that they meet at least one of the criteria for eligibility outlined below.
The criteria for being eligible for a flat at the Co-op are considered to have no hierarchy. People may apply individually or jointly, as long as at least one of the applicants fulfils at least one of the criteria. The Co-op will, in general, give priority for flat allocation to existing members who meet the flat criteria. The criteria are as follows:
People expecting children or who care for children who reside with them in the Co-op at least 50% of the time.
People with any disability which makes accommodation in shared housing inappropriate.
People with any disability who have a carer who is expected to reside with them.
Existing members who have held a tenancy for at least 10 consecutive years.
The next GM after the application deadline will agree on a list of applicants. The Flat Panel will contact all applicants and arrange to interview them. The panel will keep records of its interviews and its deliberations when selecting an applicant to recommend for the flat.
The panel will present its recommendation to a GM, which will make the final decision on allocation of the flat.
The applicant allocated the flat will then contact the Co-op office and make arrangements to sign a tenancy (and a membership agreement, if necessary), and to commence paying rent.
Members wishing to transfer to another room in their house, a room elsewhere in the Co-op, or a vacant flat, must first clear any arrears they have with the Co-op.
Members transferring to a different room in the same house must notify the Co-op and move into the new room within four weeks of the room becoming vacant.
Members wishing to transfer to a room in a different shared house may do so with the written consent of two thirds of that house. When they notify the office of this this will constitute four weeks’ notice given to the house the member is leaving for the purposes of filling the void.
Members who successfully apply to transfer to a flat may do so immediately after being allocated the flat, and the house will then have the usual amount of time to fill the void as when a room becomes vacant in 6.2.
If applicants feel they have been treated unfairly or wish to appeal any decision made during the allocations process, they may do so in writing to the Co-op office (3 Fletchers Terrace, Cambridge, CB1 3LU). The appeal will be investigated and a response sent within 28 days.
In general, application forms will only be looked at by Allocations Co-ordinators, Co-op staff, interviewers, and house members seeking to allocate rooms.
Application forms, including interview records and identification taken for right to rent checks, will be held for twelve months after an applicant is removed from the shortlist, or after the member moves out of the Co-op.
Equal Opportunities information on paper will given to each applicant, separate from the application forms.
Forms of Identification accepted for right to rent checks
One of the following:
Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with unlimited leave to remain;
EEA/Swiss national passport/identity card;
passport or travel document with unlimited leave to remain;
a registration certificate or document certifying permanent resident status in the EEA or identifying the holder as a Swiss national;
UK immigration status document with unlimited leave to remain;
an EEA/Swiss family member permanent residence card;
a certificate of naturalisation or registration as a British citizen.
Or two of the following:
UK birth or adoption certificate;
full or provisional UK driving license;
letter from a UK further- or higher-education institution;
letter of attestation from an employer;
evidence of current or previous service in the British Armed Forces;
letter from a UK government department or local authority;
any letter from a private rented sector access scheme;
criminal record check;
letter from a police force confirming that certain documents have been
letter from the National Offender Management Service or HM
Prison and Probation Service;
a letter of attestation from a UK passport holder working in an acceptable profession.