Frequently Asked Questions
Glossary of Terms
- Member: An individual or household that has paid the membership fee and is interested in becoming a JVer.
- JVer: a “Joint Venturer” is an individual or household that has been accepted by the community and has committed to the project by contributing equity and signing the JV deed.
- JV deed: the legal agreement to be signed by all JVers.
Q: Who are you?
A: We are a diverse group of households, young, old, families, couples, singles, kids. We decided to establish a community and live together cooperatively as neighbours and friends.
Q: Are you investors or developers?
A: We are ALL future residents! The individuals that are steering this project are the very same people that will be moving in when our new homes have been built. We have established a joint venture, pooled our funds and purchased the property on Brougham St. We have recruited the expertise of highly reputable contractors to oversee various aspects of the development. Those firms are:
Q: Who are Property Collectives?
A: Property Collectives Australia is a property developer who specialise in joint venture development by groups of owner builders. Brougham Street Cohousing is their tenth project and their first cohousing development. They manage the project on our behalf and with our input.
Q: Are you looking for new members?
A: Yes! We still have several vacancies. We are particularly seeking willing, passionate, enthusiastic and proactive participants that share our vision and have the capacity to share some of the load of establishing & managing a sustainable community together. To register your interest please click here. To support our vision of intergenerational living we are particularly keen to hear from younger families.
Q: What lots are available?
A: Note these numbers are likely to shift as the design evolves.
Q: What is the timeline of this development?
June 2021 – Acquisition & settlement
October 2022 – Town Planning submission
Late 2023 – Construction phase
Early 2025 – Move in!
Q: Are you knocking down any trees?
A: One or two trees on the property pose safety risks and would need to be removed anyway, but other than that no existing trees will be lost to make way for new buildings. We love our trees!
Q: Are you knocking down any buildings?
A: All the existing buildings on the property will remain standing. We love our buildings!
Q: What about the heritage mud brick cottage?
A: Our property features a stunningly beautiful, heritage-listed mud brick studio cottage built by Peter Garner in 1969 which, along with the adjacent mud brick shed, is protected by heritage law and we are committed to restoring and maintaining it accordingly. Check out the VHR listing here. This wonderful building is exemplary of the Eltham style and a precious slice of local history that we intend to preserve.
Q: Will the increase in housing density impact traffic congestion on Brougham St?
A: Most of us are either working from home or retired and some of us don’t even have a car at all, so we aren’t likely to impact congestion nearly as much as a typical development would.
Q: How will this development impact the current street view?
A: The new townhouses will be built along the rear of the property and won’t be visible from the street. At. All. So the current street view will not change very much!
Q: How do I join?
A: The first step is to fill out our application form. We will contact you with the next steps:
- Become a member by completing our finance assessment form and paying a fee of $1572.00. This is fully refunded if your application does not result in your joining the project joint venture.
- Membership qualifies you to participate in our Zoom and in person meetings so you can get to know us and vice versa.
- We provide all the information on the project including projected project costs, timelines, the required equity contribution for the different unit types, access to the Joint Venture Deed and other contractual information so you can obtain independent legal advice.
- Once you have confirmed a decision to join us in the project joint venture, a panel of three community members will invite you to have a chat to ensure that you are fully aware of risks, benefits and obligations of joint venture membership. We reserve the right to respectfully decline an application to join.
Q: What is the difference between a member and a joint venturer?
A: Brougham Street Cohousing is a joint venture. This is a legal structure where a group of people agree to combine their resources to execute a project and share the risk and rewards. In order to give potential joint venturers the opportunity to understand the project and get to know the community, we authorise Property Collectives, our development managers, to enrol interested parties as members. Members are invited to attend community meetings and participate in group discussions. You also have access to much of our documentation. Members do not have a vote in our management meetings.
Q: What are the requirements to join the community?
A: Once you have met the financial requirements and you have paid your membership fee you will be able to be involved in the community activities discussions and some decisions. We aim to have a balance of ages and family types in the community, so an offer to join the project as a joint venturer may be affected by this.
Q: Will I own my own unit?
A: The answer is yes! You will also own a share of the common facilities and land. At the end of the project, all joint venturers are required to purchase their unit and share from the joint venture. This is done either by taking out a bank mortgage or using your own financial resources.
Q: Can I sell my unit?
A: It is your unit so you can sell it. We also hope that the quality of the development and the demonstrated desire for people to live in community will result in high sale value. We would hope and expect that a purchaser would be someone who is prepared to engage with the community.
Q: How are units allocated?
A: We aim to have most community members in the joint venture before unit design is finalised. This helps us to provide units that meet the needs of all community members. Our ‘tie breaker’ in the event that more than one joint venturer still wants the same unit after discussion and resolution, is the order of joining the joint venture.
Q: Can I customise my unit?
A: Each unit type is based on a standard design. There is the opportunity to customise aspects of the design to suit your needs. Any customisation is at extra cost to the standard design.
Q: How do we manage age diversity?
A: A strong community has a range of ages and family types. We take age and family type (single, couple, kids) into consideration when finalising offers to join the community.
Q: Is this affordable housing?
A: We are trying to keep the pricing of units as affordable as possible while providing dwellings and common facilities built for a long life and comfortable living. Unit sizes can be modest because of our shared facilities and we expect the cost of living in community will be lower due to our collective buying power and our productive gardens.
Q: How do we make community decisions?
A: The Joint Venture Deed is a large legal contract which binds all Joint Venturers to the project, its risks and benefits. We will also have a Body Corporate to run the business of the community when we are in residence like any other strata title real estate. Our strong intention is for the legals to be backstops to our decision making. Any decision which is forced on a minority of community members by vote is not helping to build the community. In all matters, we try to decide community level matters by consent.
Q: What is consent decision making?
A: In consent decision making we discuss the issue and try to ensure that everyone with a view about the decision has been heard and understood. In these discussions the proposed solution to the matter under consideration is developed. The solution is not adopted if any community member objects. We are not looking for full agreement from all, but the least enthusiastic must still feel that they can live with the decision and know that their point of view has been fully understood and considered.
Q: Is living in a community hard work?
A: Sometimes, yes. But it’s totally worthwhile!
Q: Once everyone moves in, will there be a payable fee from each household to help maintain the common spaces?
A: We will set up a body corporate to manage the site as per a normal strata title. We have not finalised the body corporate fee but will have indicative pricing soon.
Q: Do you have a pet policy?
A: A policy has been drafted, which aims to be respectful of the needs of residents and neighbours, and not threaten local wildlife. Suffice to say there will be no roaming cats!
Q: Does each dwelling also have a Private Open Space?
A: Every dwelling is required to have a minimum of 25sqm of private open space.
Q: What if I am someone who travels a lot?
A: We have JVers who are in this position right now, and they are of course free to come and go, but ideally this would be their primary dwelling.
Q: Will I be able to have my family and friends over on a regular basis?
A: Absolutely! It’s no different to any other home. We’re exploring the possibility of holding larger functions too. Watch this space.
Q: Will there be storage space?
A: We intend to provide a shared bike shed, workshop and laundry / up-cycling area. These plans are still in development at the moment.
Q: I might not be able to make communal dinners. Is this an issue?
A: Regular group meals and socialising are among the core principles of the Danish CoHousing model, so there is some expectation of attendance even if it is only occasional. A common meal is likely to occur at least once a week, with random potlucks scattered in between. We intend to maximise the use of our beautiful space!
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