Joining Cascade CoHousing

Information for prospective members

12 May 1994

Cascade CoHousing seeks people with a diverse range of backgrounds, ages and interests to build homes and live at the Cascade CoHousing development in South Hobart.  At the same time we wish to ensure that new members understand what the development is about and feel that it offers a lifestyle with which they would be comfortable.  To this end there are a number of expectations on prospective members.  Prior to being accepted for membership of  Cascade CoHousing a prospective member must demonstrate that they have a basic understanding of the concept of cohousing, are willing to work with a group that uses the principals of consensus in its decision making, broadly subscribe to the particular aims of Cascade CoHousing, accept the decisions made to date by the group as detailed in meeting minutes (including architectural constraints on houses) and sign the Cascade CoHousing legal agreement.  It is expected that prospective members will participate in working bees, common meals, meetings and possibly management tasks prior to applying for membership.


When a person or family decides that they are serious about joining Cascade CoHousing , they may pay a refundable deposit to the group and indicate their preferred site or sites.  Paying a deposit gives a person an option on the indicated site but is not binding on either party.  It is possible that more than one person may pay a deposit against a site, in which case the options would have priority in the order that deposits were paid.  Paying a deposit is not binding on either the prospective member or Cascade CoHousing.  The deposit is refundable at any time, but no interest is paid on money held as a deposit.

A quarterly charge of $100 which covers the running cost of the group becomes payable according to our legal agreement  from the date a deposit is paid. However we have in practice not been levying this charge until a person signs the legal agreement.


If a person has paid a deposit against a site and another person wishes to purchase that site then the person with the option would be approached and asked if they want to buy in at that time.  If they do not then the site would be sold to the second person.  The first person could then either have their deposit refunded or could indicate a preference for another site.  Unfortunately Cascade CoHousing cannot hold a site for someone who is uncertain about their level of commitment if there is the option of selling to an acceptable person who is ready to commit to the project.


If no deposit has been paid against a site then that site is considered generally available.


Prior to formally applying for membership and signing a contract to buy a share, the prospective member should have read and understood the Cascade CoHousing legal agreement and discussed the financing and construction of their house with members of the group.  Arrangements can be made for people to speak with the groups solicitor and various builders who have worked on site.  Independent legal advice should be sought if a person has any doubts about the legal and financial obligations of joining.  It is important that prospective members understand the nature of the bank loans that are secured against the common property of cascade CoHousing.  Prospective members are welcome to inspect the minutes of meetings and the accounting books.


Accepting a person for membership does not imply any obligation from the group to provide loan funds to that person.  In general loans will be approved to anyone who would ordinarily qualify for a loan from the Commonwealth Bank at the time they wish to take out the loan.  It is possible

to borrow money from the commonwealth Bank to pay for part of a persons common costs share where a person has insufficient money to build their house immediately. 


On receiving a formal application to join the existing members will meet and decide whether or not to accept the application.  Once accepted arrangements will be made for payment of the common costs share and transferring a share in the land to the new member.


The following costs are payable on or after joining Cascade CoHousing.


Quarterly running cost instalment                                            $100                per quarter

Common costs share*                                   approximately $31000                on joining

Stormwater connections to your house                                 $1000                prior to carrying out the work

Possible increase in commoncosts share                               $1000                After last share is sold if

                                                                                                                                needed to complete common                             works as planned


In addition to the cost in dollars each household is expected to commit something in excess of 200 hours to building the common house.


If a person needs to borrow money there will also be the usual loan establishment fees, mortgage stamp duties, government charges and a small legal cost (about $30) associated with establishing a loan.


*A persons (or households) common costs share is calculated on the basis of house size and is calculated as at April 1992.  For people paying after April 1992 the common cost share is inflated by the consumer price index for Hobart so that all members pay (more or less) the same amount in real terms.  Details of the calculation of the common cost share are in the legal agreement.




Other documents that should be obtained and understood:

Cascade CoHousing aims and strategies

Cascade CoHousing project summary

Cascade CoHousing Legal Agreement

Agreed architectural and colour schemes

Record of  major decisions made at meetings

Details of the Cascade CoHousing Commonwealth Bank loan