Present: Corey, Russ, Richard, Ryan, Donny (facilitating), Paul, Hannah, Chris, Marilyn (minutes), Richard
Tabled until next week
(Corey) Fixer no-shows:
Preface: Fixer credits get applied at the beginning of the month before a fixer has done their labor for the month. Each fixer hour is valued slightly above a normal labor hour (currently $10.75 and $10.00 respectively). In the past we've offset the fixer credit via no-shows for fixer hours not completed.
Proposal: No-shows for fixer hours will be valued at 1/40th the monthly cost of a single room's rent, per hour. Clarifying questions: Is this the labor that Melissa is doing now? A: yes. No concerns or friendly amedments. Proposal accepted as proposed.
(Paul`) Replace the “Considerations for prioritizing roommate applicants” in the house manual with the following section:
The Membership Coordinator will find roommates to fill any vacancies in rent. Roommate applicability for a given opening will be determined on a case-by-case basis, per person, following the order of the [Membership Admission Priority Policy].
Roommate vacancies shall be filled by this method regardless of whether the current occupant(s) have a single-room contract or are moving from a whole-unit to a single-room contract.
When finding a roommate, the MemCo will use the following criteria to determine the acceptability of the new roommate arrangement:
* Does the potential roommate have health incompatibilities (pet allergies, works at peanut factory vs. allergic to peanuts) with the current occupant(s)?
* Are the potential roommate and current occupant(s) pets incompatible?
* Does the current occupant(s) have other reasonable objections to the potential roommate? The Membership Coordinator will determine if an objection is a reasonable accommodation or not.
In the event that the current occupant(s) object to a potential roommate, and such objection is not found reasonable, the Membership coordinator may sign a contract with the potential roommate in order to fill what would otherwise be a vacancy in rent from the unit.
Paul's discussion: The current rules deal with people moving in, not within the co-op, and are based on Sasona's rules. In the past single-occupancy renters have been able to choose their roommate, and can skip the wait list to accept a roommate. Corey adds that the old policy only talks about the new person's pet, not about the old person's pet allergies.
Clarifying question: Under the old policy a single-unit renter could reject everyone on the wait list to find a roommate, and the MemCo should be able to make the choice? Corey: this is to make it easier to have more members rather than fewer. There may be issues in the fair housing realm in doing it the old way. CQ: So if someone objects to the people on the list can they keep the unit to themselves? A: Yes. CQ: What if you want a particular roommate? Would you have to wait for several months until others ahead of them are accepted? Yes
Friendly amendment: If someone objects to a roommate for one of the health or safety reasons above they may sign a contract for the whole reason. Friendly amendment not accepted.
Concerns: If there is a three person unit, and one person leaves, we are going to be in arrears for the rent if one of the two remaining person stonewalls on re-signing the lease for the higher rate.
Concern: This proposal requires someone taking a roommate at the top of the list, we may run into the law of unintended consequences. The language says they have to accept the first available roommate, and requiring that is a bad idea. In the meantime they will hold on to the unit by themselves instead of accepting someone they prefer who is lower on the list.
Concern: We shouldn't make anyone accept a roommate, though this provides parity with those who can't afford to wait for a preferred choice. This results in people being able to choose or not choose based on money.
Concern: This language makes explicit that the power is one person's hands.
Concern: The main problem is that by reaching out to someone with housing, but rejecting that housing because of someone's personal stuff and making it a house decision puts us in jeopardy. The person objecting should not have to reveal details. If there is a choice of waiting for someone to wait for a roommate or hold the unit by him/herself, the latter is preferred from a liability point of view; we might not be able to justify the choice.
Concern: Our policy should specify when an issue needs to come before the house.
Concern: Legal precedent says that roommates are exempt from fair housing laws.
Paul: This is about respecting our wait list.
Concern: We need to make clear to potential members that they may be turned down by potential roommates.
Concern: As things are constituted, the tendency is to self-select people who are like us, turning comfort into prejudice, but it's not clear that it's good to force people to give up control over their space. On the other hand this policy is consistent with our current roommate acceptance policy. I would hope we could encourage people to respect the wait list.
Concern: One of our key problems is that the basic unit is an apartment that needs to be subdivided to make things affordable. This is not the situation that the fair housing law usually considers. The people in the roommate can pick whomever they want or reject all of them.
Paul: I'm not okay with everyone having carte blanche to reject roommate. I'd rather have it that everyone respects the wait list.
Concern: Some people have been looking to get out of uncomfortable roommate situations.
Concern from Marilyn, former MemCo, never encountered this as a problem. Paul states Marilyn turned down several roommates, Marilyn says the roommates turned her down, which she already revealed twice to Paul in personal conversations.
Temp check: Suggestion from Corey that we investigate fair housing issues with Daniel Miller before pursuing this. Two people would block.
Concern: It's not clear that someone who loses a roommate would have the option to take a unit solo.
Concern: If you are on the list, you should be able to come in, but at the same time I don't want to be forced to have a roommate. But we can learn to get along, and there are people here who are putting up with uncomfortable situations.
Vote: the proposal does not pass.
Richard will put three Labor Holiday dates on the refrigerator, and is asking people to vote on them in the next week. He will send an e-mail.
Marilyn: Meditation group has started, meeting Saturdays at 10 a.m. in the library.
Corey: Board games in the Commons tomorrow, Monday the 21st, at 7:40, Also recommends that we all look at current rules for roommate acceptance. Abby, our community rep, will be at tomorrow's event, her last event before her term expires. She has been very active and helpful, and this will be a chance to thank her. There is one applicant, and we are hoping for more.