Our co-operatives

Our co-operatives
Based in Birmingham, bchs is a co-operative housing and community regeneration agency.

Since 1997, we have developed more than 50 housing co-operatives and community controlled housing projects. In this section, you can find out more about the individual co-operatives to which we currently provide management, co-operative initiatives and services we provide.

What is a co-operative?
A co-operative is a membership organisation. To be housed by us you need to be a member of the co-operative, for which there is a one-off £1 joining fee. The co-operative requires its members to be active in the management of their homes. The minimum requirement is attending a regular monthly meeting. As only you and your neighbours are members of the co-operative, you make all the decisions about how your home is run. The co-operative is a democratic organisation and every member has an equal say and vote.

How much is the rent and do I have the same tenancy conditions as with other landlords?
Our rents are regulated by the government and are broadly similar to the council’s. Each year, members of the co-operative have to approve any rent increase. Members have broadly similar tenancy rights as council tenants but there are some differences. For example, as you own the co-operative that manages your home, you do not have a personal right to buy. You also have greater security of tenancy because only the co-operative can grant and end tenancies.

How do I apply for a co-operative home?
Our properties are advertised on the council’s Home Choice system. If you are already active on the council’s housing register, you can bid on our properties as they become available.

I am not registered with the council. How can I apply?
You will need to make an application for housing with your local Council. To get an application form, visit the town hall or a neighbourhood office. We will happily assist you in completing the form.

My bid with the council has won. Does this mean I am entitled to the property with you?
Not automatically. While you have the greatest housing need, we will also require you to successfully complete a co-operability interview. We invite the top three likely eligible candidates for a property to an interview, where we discuss with you whether or not you are prepared to be involved in the management of your home. The co-operability interview takes place with other tenants of the co-operative who have been elected by their co-operative and undertaken training for the task.

If you are a recent arrival to the UK and are seeking help with how to find a place to live, you can visit the Housing Rights Information website, which has information on entitlements to housing in England, Wales and Scotland.