Ostara Membership Manual
This page constitutes the Ostara Membership Manual. These are the agreements which govern the house. The membership manual is incorporated by reference into the Ostara Lease. All members agree to abide by these rules and processes when they sign the lease.
1 Labor System
- 1.1 Cooking, Cleaning, and Food Shopping
- 1.2 Monthly
- 1.3 Stewardships
- 1.3.1 even smaller
2 House Bylaws
- 2.1 Organization
- 2.2 Membership
- 2.3 Duties of House Members
- 2.4 House Meetings
- 2.5 House Stewardships
- 2.6 Expulsion
- 2.7 Amendments
- 2.8 Consensus, Quorum and Meetings
- 2.9 Ratification
- 2.10 Security Deposit Return
- 2.11 Debt and Payment Plan Policies
- 2.11.1 Definitions
- 2.11.2 Procedure for requesting and approving a payment plan
- 2.11.3 Modification of an existing payment plan
- 2.11.4 Payment plan terms
- 2.11.5 Normal rent violation time-line
- 2.11.6 Payment plan violation timeline
- 2.11.7 Returned (bounced) checks
3 House Rules
- 3.1 Meetings
- 3.1.1 Guidelines for Creating Safe Space
- 3.1.2 Meeting Agendas
- 3.1.3 Voting
- 3.1.4 Consensus
- 3.1.5 Tips for Meeting Facilitation
- 3.1.6 Structure for Talking about Proposals
- 3.1.7 Heart Song
- 3.2 Food
- 3.2.1 Food Commitments
- 3.2.2 Cooking for the House
- 3.2.3 How to Clean the Kitchen
- 3.3 Food Shopping
- 3.4 Recycling
- 3.5 Compost
- 3.6 Common Space and Common Courtesies
- 3.6.1 Quiet Hours
- 3.6.2 Lights
- 3.6.3 Computers
- 3.6.4 Conflicts
- 3.6.5 Intimate Relationships Within the House
- 3.6.6 Laundry
- 3.6.7 Lost and Found
- 3.6.8 Purging Stuff
- 3.6.9 Message Board
- 3.6.10 Parking
- 3.6.11 Rent and Food Payments
- 3.6.12 Submitting Receipts
- 3.6.13 Smoking
- 3.6.14 Storage
- 3.6.15 Supplies
- 3.6.16 Toilets
- 3.6.17 Vacuum Cleaner
- 3.6.18 Pets
- 3.6.19 Guest Policy
- 3.6.20 Payment of Deposit by Installment
- 3.6.21 Non-Food Reimbursements
- 3.6.22 Room Choosing Procedure
- 3.6.23 No Television
- 3.6.24 No Firearms
Labor System (Chores, Stewardships, Cook/Clean)
All adult house members who live in the main building are required to do six hours of labor per week. This includes a chore (1 hour), a stewardship (1 hour), a cook or clean shift (2 hours) and a two hour meeting. The exceptions are the adult members who live in the apartments who are exempt from doing a chore in the main building and are only required to do 4 hours of labor per week. A labor report will be shared each month with the house and each member should have a minimum of 16 points, one point each for the following per week: a completed chore, time spent doing stewardship, attending the house meeting, and one cook/clean shift in the kitchen. House members who do not contribute approximately six hours per week are in violation of their lease. Chores Most of the household chores must be thoroughly completed each week before house meeting. Friday and Saturday Kitchen Clean must be completed on their respective days. If a chore is to be done daily, that is noted below. Detailed descriptions of the chores are listed below, and are posted on the white board for easy reference. Members are responsible for household chores for one month at a time, with signups taking place at the first house meeting of each month. There are 18 chores, one for each adult member of the main house. Boulder Food Rescue Sort & Prep Assist the BFR Steward with sorting, cleaning, preparing and putting away BFR food once a week
Bulk Food Restocking
- Clean bulk shelves, re-shelve and organize bulk items.
Refill food items in kitchen & dining room area from bulk in closet.
Commons Clean (daily)
- Straighten and clean living room couches, tidy the pillows, and fold the blankets
- Put anything that does not belong in the living room in its appropriate place or the Lost & Found.
- Clean the coffee table, windowsills and dust the bookshelves.
- Clear off and clean the dining room table
- Sweep & mop all first floor hallways
- Sweep & mop common spaces, including living room and dining room
- Sweep & mop storage rooms
Floors, Upstairs & Stairs
- Sweep and mop all second floor hallways
- Sweep and mop stairs
- Sweep and mop storage room
- Wipe down shelves
- Organize breads and fruit and other shared foods
- Group personal food together on bottom shelves
- Organize the papers on the front of the freezer
Fridge Clean, Left
- Dispose of rotten and outdated food from the leftovers shelf.
- Wash emptied containers.
- Clean shelves.
- Organize personal bins
Fridge Clean, Right
- Dispose of rotten and outdated food, including condiments, from the right side of the fridge.
- Wash emptied containers.
- Clean fridge shelves and organize shared food.
- Clear space in time for mid-week bulk food shop delivery
Kitchen Clean AM (daily- after breakfast time)
- Clears and wipes counters and island
- Runs a load of dishes
Kitchen Clean PM (daily- after lunch time)
- Clears and wipes counters and island
- Runs a load of dishes
Kitchen Clean (Friday- after dinner time)
- Clean counter tops, stove, sink, island and any other surface that is messy or dirty.
- Wash any stray dishes. You may recruit the culprits to help!
- Put anything that does not belong in the kitchen/dining room in its appropriate place.
- Sweep the floor.
Kitchen Clean (Saturday- after dinner time)
- Clean counter tops, stove, sink, island and any other surface that is messy or dirty.
- Wash any stray dishes. You may recruit the culprits to help!
- Put anything that does not belong in the kitchen/dining room in its appropriate place.
- Sweep the floor.
- Find a problem area and work to fix it up!
Ex: Refill the soap dispensers, wipe down shelves, organize cabinets & shelves full of weird things, clean under the sink, etc.
- Wash, dry, and fold kitchen towels, as needed.
- Clean out washing machines' rubber seals and clear lint in dryers.
- Empty out trash, clean sink, and organize space.
- Drain washing machines monthly & run cleaning cycle
- Remove personal items and place in Lost & Found
- Sweep and mop floor
- Straighten couch and love sack
- Take dirty dishes down and put in sanitizer rack
Microwave, Oven & Toasters
- Deep clean inside and outside oven, including that greasy stove hood.
- Deep clean inside and outside of microwave.
- Deep clean inside and outside toasters and toaster ovens.
- Clean sink and toilet,
- Sweep and mop
- Restock toilet paper
- Organize & clean upstairs storage room, including mop sink & bucket
- Organize & clean downstairs maintenance closet, including mop sink & bucket
- Stewardships are ongoing responsibilities to the house which each member takes on. They generally require some specialized knowledge, or benefit from continuity. Assignment of stewardships must be agreed to by consensus in house meeting. Some stewardships are a lot of work, others less so. If your stewardship is heavy feel free to ask someone with a lighter stewardship to pitch in, or check with the Labor Steward to see about breaking the stewardship into two.
- Picks up BFR food from designated location by bike once a week
- 1 hr training required
- Attend monthly BHC meetings as our representative and report back to house.
- Take minutes at house meetings and archive them in the proper format in the house’s Google Drive
- Update all house lists, such as vehicles, communication preferences, birthdays, etc.
- Update mailbox list as house members move in and out and label mail boxes inside and out.
- Administer Google+ and house email list, adding and dropping new members
- Keep Facebook page and Wiki up to date
- Orient and mentor new house members and explain labor system and Google+
- Give new members a quiz based on the Membership Manual
- Help new members get an Eco Pass, Ego Carshare membership, and B Cycle membership
Food, Bulk & Accounting
- Buy food in bulk from Costco, usually mid-week, and Golden Organics weekly.
- Collect food money from each co-oper every month, via Dwolla.
- Keep track of receipts for food bought by grocery shoppers, as well as vacation refunds.
- Reimburse people for food through Dwolla.
- Keep Quickbooks up to date.
- Prepare and present quarterly and annual Budget to Actual reports.
- Prepare and present a house budget for the upcoming year in the fourth quarter.
Food, Grocery Shopping
- Monitors food needs/requests and grocery shops once a week, usually on the weekend.
- Picks up bulk order from BOCHA once a week.
- Garden Prep (Spring),
- Garden Close/Clean up and prep for off-season(Fall),
- Snow Removal (Winter)
- Maintains the best possible outdoor appearance of Ostara, primarily focused on improving our aesthetics and reducing clutter.
- Lead outdoor projects and keep outside common spaces tidy (including table, bike shelters, fire ring, and backyard stage).
- Plant/Trim flowers, foliage and weeds when in season.
- Assist with Garden Prep (Spring), Gardening/Farming (Summer), Garden Close/Clean up and leaf removal (Fall), Snow Removal (Winter)
- Collect rent from each house member by 5th of every month, via Dwolla.
- Collect deposits as people move in and return them as people move out
- Prepare and present quarterly and annual Budget to Actual reports.
- Prepare and present a house budget for the upcoming year in the fourth quarter.
- Reimburse people for house purchases via Dwolla.
- Keep Quickbooks up to date.
House Debt Collector
- Ask people for late rent and food money
- Help people make payment plans and issue 3 Day notices
- Collect and track boarder food money and guest fees
- Monitor inventory of house supplies and make weekly purchases at a store or online.
Labor Steward A
- Make sure everyone has a stewardship and update stewardship list accordingly.
- Record chores from previous month and make sure everyone signs up for a new one.
- Track meeting attendance.
- Create a monthly stewardship report, present it at the house meeting each month, and archive the report in the house’s Google Drive.
- Communicate with members about labor, especially if the work is not getting done.
- Check in with folks who are doing too much or too little to see if you can recommend a way that they could level off. Perhaps someone is overwhelmed by their stewardship? Perhaps someone else is not cooking or cleaning the kitchen frequently enough?
Labor Steward B
- Track house meal preparation/kitchen clean sign up.
- Fill in as needed or find members to fill in for sick/out of town members
- Provides monthly report to Labor A.
Lost & Found and Free Bin
- Empty lost and found bin into free bin, after giving house notice on Google + and on white board
- Donate free bin items monthly
- Track three day notices on indoor clutter
- Lead and track projects
- Supervise large and small repairs.
- Responds to house maintenance needs.
- Coordinate work days with volunteers who have talents & skills we can use – i.e. plumbing, construction/contracting, painting, wood-working.
- Keep a running prioritized list of what in the house needs to be fixed.
- Communicate with Lincoln, who can arrange for community service workers, about the list.
- Fix what you can fix on your own. Get help with things that you can’t manage. Notify the house in advance if supplies need to be purchased and they total more than $25. Get permission in a weekly meeting.
- Work on specific projects with Maintenance A
- Deep-clean, maintain, and call for service on all large appliances
- Posts ads online and create & post flyers for open spots to recruit new house members
- Fields applications, coordinate pre-screens and set up house visits and interviews.
- Work with community-oriented groups to get the word out about room openings, keeping in mind our affordability and our commitments to diversity and inclusiveness by advertising in places where people who need affordable housing are likely to see our ads.
- Maintain list of potential co-opers’ names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, first dates of contact, and desired move-in dates.
- Read fair housing statement and member selection process checklist to all applicants.
- Carry out move-in procedures: lease signing, room walkthrough, membership manual distribution, income qualification, etc. Note that a person is not a member of Masala until a deposit & signed lease are in-hand, and note that everyone must complete the income qualification process with the BHC Executive Director.
- Verify that vacated rooms have been cleaned and checked for damage, re-painted as necessary, & that a person who has moved out has been thru all necessary steps and had each steward check her or him off.
- Drain sanitizer at night after the last load of dishes has been run through
- Wipe down inner surfaces
- Check detergent and rinse levels
- De-lime and run a cleaning cycle once a month
Staples A (General Staples)
- Make big, tasty batches of both grains and proteins once a week
- Make salsa, hummus and other things we routinely have ingredients for so that we don’t have to buy them
Staples B (BFR Staples)
- Sorts, cleans, prepares and puts away BFR food once a week with the help of the BFR chore person
- Takes BFR food and turns it into ingredients to be used by future cooks (shucking and freezing corn kernels, chopping and freezing apples or drying them for snacks, turning basil into pesto, etc.)
Staples C (Almond Milk)
- Make almond milk, as needed
- Assist Staples A & B with food creation
- Empty bins daily or when full
- Run compost bucket through sanitizer weekly
- Hose out outdoor compost bin once a month
Cooking and Cleaning
A lot of the labor that we do at the house has to do with FOOOOD. We have five house meals per week, with four slots for each meal, two cooks and two after dinner cleaners. That means we have twenty spots to fill each week and we also have twenty adult housemates, so everyone should sign up once a week. If you will be out of town or if you’re sick, please let the Labor Steward B know and she/he will help find someone to fill in, preferably someone with a light stewardship, or someone who didn’t attend the house meeting or do their chore that week. On meeting nights we will do a Dance & Clean, so those two spots that are taken should be reserved for housemates who have heavy stewardships or are sick/out of town.
- Cook as though everyone in the house will be at dinner, that way even if it’s a small group there will be enough for leftovers and late plates.
Make late plates for absent housemates who have requested one AFTER present housemates have filled their plates but BEFORE seconds. Try to accommodate special diets by making diary-free, gluten-free, and meat-free options when possible.
- Put on some good music. It will help.
- Label and put away leftovers
- Rinse the dishes and wipe, if necessary, to remove food particles
- Put dishes in the sanitizer (it’s NOT a dishwasher) and run it on the P3 cycle
- When the cycle ends, put the rack on the island to let it cool a bit and then put dishes away.
- Wipe down all counters, the stove and the island.
- Clean both sinks
- Sweep and mop the floor.
The members of the Ostara Cooperative House adopt the following principles in accordance with the spirit of providing cooperative room and board to the people of Boulder, Colorado.
- There shall be no restriction on membership for any reason other than available room and ability and willingness to discharge duties and uphold responsibilities as house members.
- Each member has one and only one vote; each shares the house duties in as nearly an equitable manner as possible; and each shares equally in the benefits derived.
- The house will be a working example of cooperative living and will educate its members and others in the principles of cooperatives.
- The house will be a member of no organization other than cooperative societies.
- By the house’s membership in other cooperative organizations, it will support the cooperative movement in general as much as possible without impairing the efficient functioning of The Masala Cooperative House.
- The name of the house that operates under this set of rules is Ostara.
As a democratic community living collectively, Ostara needs its residents to work in the collective management of the organization, and to live harmoniously with each other in shared dwellings. These demands of residents require an admission process more selective than that of typical rental housing. Admission to Ostara is also generally competitive, as the number of qualified applicants often exceeds the number of available rooms and Ostara seeks to recruit those individuals who are most likely to sustain and grow the organization and contribute to a healthy and vibrant community. As a community the Ostara Co-op has a strong commitment to social justice. We believe that an inclusive and diverse Membership Policy is critical to achieving a strong and healthy cooperative housing organization. Ostara strives for a balanced gender ratio. While this is a goal meant to foster diversity and an accepting environment, Ostara will not deny residency on the basis of an applicant’s gender. We also value other forms of diversity and we aspire to become a housing community that includes all individuals, respecting and accepting them without bias. We actively seek and support the participation of individuals who reflect diversity of physical & mental ability status, age, class, ethnicity, gender expression, life experience, national origin, parenthood or custody of a minor, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and veteran status. We will treat each other fairly and value & respect the opinions, perspectives & life experiences of all people, in our day-to-day practices, processes, policies & in the conversations that take place in & around our home. We will strive to continue to develop successful inclusiveness practices together.
- 1. Potential housemates (PHMs) must be approved by the house in order to be offered residency at Ostara Cooperative House.
- 2. Ostara shall select a resident to serve as its Membership Coordinator (MC).
- 1. The MC (acting as Ostara's Agent) shall be the contact person for prospective residents and shall oversee the recruitment and admission of new residents. Ostara as a whole shares the burden of empty rooms and non-paying residents.
- 2. The MC shall advertise for available rooms on behalf of Ostara. Other Ostara residents may also post flyers, online notices, etc., in coordination with the Membership Coordinator.
- 3. The MC shall sign leases with new residents.
- 4. The MC shall sign renewal leases with current residents of Ostara who are in good standing.
- 3. The Boulder Housing Coalition (BHC) and Ostara are equal opportunity housing providers and abide by the City of Boulder's prohibition against discrimination in housing, as recorded in section 12-1-2 of the Boulder Revised Code. The BHC and Ostara will not deny housing to any individual because of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender variance, marital status, religion, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, parenthood, custody of a minor child, or mental or physical disability of that individual, or such individual's friends or associates. A statement explaining Fair Housing law with regard to renting will be read aloud or otherwise communicated to all participating residents before any house vote or action on an applicant. Houses shall follow consistent, fair processes for reviewing applications and accepting new residents.
- 4. Recruitment and interview process. The House shall advertise for available rooms. PHMs must attend at least one house meals or other events as well as complete an application in order to be considered for an interview. After the interview Ostara will make a decision on the acceptance of all PHMs. Ostara also reserves the right to request additional information from any PHMs. Ostara may request that PHMs meet with certain house members and/or request that PHMs attend additional house dinners in order to meet all house members before Ostara makes its decision.
- 5. When Ostara rejects an applicant, either prior to or following an interview, each opposing resident participating in the decision shall state their reason(s) for rejection. The House must record the reason(s) but not the name of the resident stating the reason, for each rejected applicant, in the House meeting minutes. The following reasons may be used for rejecting an applicant. This list is not an exhaustive list, rather, these are the most common reasons for rejection. Ostara may reject an applicant for legal reasons other than the ones listed below.
- 1. The applicant has a poor rental history. Lack of a rental history will not necessarily indicate a poor rental history.
- 2. The applicant has made false or deliberately misleading statements regarding their application.
- 3. The applicant does not meet low-income requirements that may be in effect.
- 4. The applicant has not indicated a reasonable source of income or funds for meeting the financial obligations of their contract.
- 5. The applicant is believed to lack respect for other people. This may include, but is not limited to, lack of respect for other people’s belongings, safety, privacy, space, or time; racial, social, ethnic, religious, gender identity, or sexual orientation backgrounds; shared facilities, resources, or tools.
- 6. The applicant is believed to be unable or unwilling to perform the duties of cooperative living, including, but not limited to, completion of labor, participation in meetings and other obligations listed in the contract. Ostara will make reasonable accommodations in chore assignments for applicants with disabilities. All residents are required to contribute equitably to the operations of the co-op.
- 7. The applicant is believed to lack interest in cooperative living and working to sustain and improve the cooperative.
- 6. If more than one applicant is accepted by Ostara for an available room, the House shall vote on the order in which the applicants will be offered the room. The House shall record the reason(s) for prioritizing each applicant.
- 7. Applicants who have been accepted by the House, but for whom there are no available rooms will be kept on a waiting list for three months and will be offered rooms as they become available. The waiting list will be ordered by application date, unless the House votes to prioritize the waiting list. If the House prioritizes the waiting list it must record the reason for each re-ordering. A person will be removed from the waiting list at their request, once they are offered a room, or after three months, whichever is soonest.
- 8. The MC will only disclose the reason for rejection to an applicant upon their request.
- 9. Any member or applicant who believes that a law may have been violated during an application process should inform the House immediately. Any decision to reject an applicant may be appealed to Ostara within 14 days. The House shall collectively revisit such decisions.
- 10. Once the PHM has been approved by the house the following steps must be completed before move in.
- 1. The MC shall provide the PHM with a link to the Membership Manual Wiki or at the request of the PHM, a hard copy of the Membership Manual. All members are required to read the Membership Manual.
- 2. The PHM must meet with the Boulder Housing Coalition Executive Director (BHC ED) and complete the income qualifying process.
- 3. The BHC ED will sign the front of the Ostara lease and the PHM must take the lease to the Ostara MC.
- 4. The Ostara MC will fill out the lease with the PHM and both parties will sign the lease.
- 5. The PHM must submit their deposit and first month's rent.
- 11. Once all of the above steps are completed the PHM is considered a member of Ostara. The new member may move in, will be added to the house email list, and is entitled to participate in Ostara's consensus-based decision making processes.
- 12. The PHM shall have 2 weeks or until the start of the lease period, whichever comes first, to complete the above steps. If by that time the above steps have not been completed then Ostara may offer their spot to the next PHM on the waiting list, on a first come first serve basis.
- 13. The MC shall abide by the following conditions when setting start and end dates:
- 1. PHMs shall first be offered contracts beginning Aug. 1 and ending July 31 of the following year. Priority should be given to those willing to sign such contracts. The Membership Coordinator may offer a shorter contract if not doing so would result in a vacancy.
- 2. Successive contracts for a particular room should be drawn so they do not produce vacancies. Priority should be given to residents willing to sign contracts.
- 14. Two residents may occupy the same room.
- 1. Both residents must be accepted for residency and will be considered members of Ostara.
- 2. Only one of the two residents shall be responsible for the entire room rent and pay a utility fee, although both residents shall sign the lease. It is to the discretion of the two residents to decide which of the two of them shall be signing responsibility for rent.
- 3. The other resident shall pay the current utility fee.
- 15. The members of the house shall comprise the board of directors of Ostara Community Housing, the Colorado Non-Profit Organization which manages Ostara for the Boulder Housing Coalition.
Duties of House Members
House members are responsible for the amount of labor as described in the Ostara Membership Manual. House members are responsible for payment of bills as determined by the house. House members must abide by the rules passed at house meetings. House Meetings Attendance at house meetings is mandatory for residents. Input can be provided in written form but proxies for decision making are not allowed. Boarders are encouraged to attend meetings. They may vote on matters pertaining to boarding. A quorum for a house meeting will be 1/2 the total number of residents. Round up in the case of an uneven number of members. House meetings will be held weekly. A petition signed by 5 members and posted for one day may cancel meetings, or call emergency meetings. House rules will be passed or deleted by a consensus of members present at house meetings. The house rules, as accepted, shall be duly recorded. House Stewardships Permanent House Stewards shall be agreed upon by consensus of house members. All house stewards serve until the steward or the house decides a new member should fill that stewardship position. A new steward must be determined for replacement of a resigning steward, within one week, or preferably within the same house meeting as the resignation. All Stewards are responsible for regularly educating members at house meetings on matters pertaining to the stewards’ duties and are responsible for passing all materials to their successor, including computer files. Stewards are subject to recall for dereliction of duty upon house review and consensus. Expulsion The house will consider all the recommendations for expulsion brought by house members. They shall gather evidence from all interested parties including the member in question, and form an opinion at an open house meeting with the member to be judged and her/his accuser present, if possible. This meeting is to take place within one week of the accusation. The House shall hear evidence from interested persons and a defense by the accused. An outside, non-biased facilitator is recommended. Whether the member is to keep her/his membership shall be voted on at a house meeting within one week of the hearing and will be determined by consensus. Grounds for eviction shall include failure to perform house duties, failure to obey house rules, and failure to pay house fees or bills resulting in a debt to the house of one month’s bills, and uncooperative behavior. Amendments Amendments to these bylaws shall only be approved by a consensus vote at an Ostara house meeting. Proposed amendments shall be posted to the house via email in advance of house meeting. Amendments are subject to revision by a consensus of those voting. Amendments may only be approved if they have been posted in their final form for at least 7 days. Consensus, Quorum and Meetings All house decisions must be approved at a house meeting by consensus of the house members. If consensus cannot be reached, the decision will be tabled until the next meeting, or for 24 hours if it is an emergency decision. Upon this time's expiration, the house will reconvene and attempt to reach consensus again. If consensus still cannot be reached, the decision will be decided by a two-thirds majority vote. House meetings and decisions require a quorum of 50% or more present house members. A “present house member” in terms of quorum is defined, as anyone who lives in the house and is not away for more than a week at the time that quorum needs to be reached. There will be a rotating facilitator at meetings. There will be a 24-hour notice in the form of a posting before emergency meetings. Ratification These bylaws shall be in effect when they have been ratified by a consensus of all the members of the house voting in a regular meeting. Security Deposit Return Any member who breaks the lease agreement by moving out before the lease ends risks losing all or some of their security deposit. The security deposit will cover up to one month of rent loss. The member moving out is responsible for any rent loss incurred by their leaving the house and this amount is not room-specific. Debt and Payment Plan Policies Definitions 1. A Resident is a person who has signed a lease with Ostara and the Boulder Housing Coalition to legally occupy a room at 2550 9th Street. 2. Rent is your base rent plus the required monthly utility payment, as specified in each Resident's lease. 3. A Payment Plan is a written contract between a Resident and Ostara Community Housing, a state of Colorado non-profit corporation, which will hereafter be referred to as "Ostara". A payment plan details a modified payment schedule for money owed to Ostara. This contract does not replace or nullify the Resident lease, but supersedes the regular payment schedule for the period of time specified in the payment plan. All Residents have the right to request a payment plan, however their request must be properly authorized in a house meeting and documented in meeting notes in order to be valid. ORAL AGREEMENTS SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE A PAYMENT PLAN. 4. The Three-Day Demand for Compliance or Possession will hereafter be referred to as "Three-Day Notice". This is a legal document demanding payment of past-due rent/fees. A written, signed Three-Day Notice gives the Ostara Resident the choice of either paying the past-due rent or moving out within three days. Ostara can serve the tenant this demand by posting the Three-Day Notice on the Resident’s door at 2550 9th Street. A copy must also be mailed the next day. In computing the three days, the first day is excluded. If the Resident has not paid the rent or moved out within three days, Ostara need not accept any further payments of the rent and may file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center, on 6th and Canyon in Boulder. The time begins running whether or not the tenant discovers the Three-Day Notice is posted. Also the time continues to run regardless of whether it is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a holiday. 5. A Verified Payment is a payment in the form of a money order, cashier’s check or electronic check. Procedure for requesting and approving a payment plan 1. No partial rent payments will be accepted, except as specified in a house approved payment plan. 2. The Resident must request a payment plan from the Ostara house accountant. The house accountant will then check to ensure that the proposed payment plan is in compliance with all the terms of this Payment Plan Policy. The payment plan will then be brought to a regular house meeting of Ostara. 3. Ostara must vote whether or not to approve the proposed payment plan as per the house’s voting rules. Ostara may reject a payment plan request FOR ANY REASON, including but not limited to the financial state of the House or BHC, the trustworthiness of the Resident, the Resident’s current financial or employment situation, or the Resident’s payment history. 4. If approved by consensus, a written form of the payment plan will then be signed by the Resident and the Ostara house accountant, affirming that it conforms to the terms of this policy, and has been approved by a house vote. Modification of an existing payment plan 1. A Resident may request a payment plan modification by submitting a new request. Once approved, the modified payment plan replaces the previous payment plan. 2. The end date of the revised payment plan must be the same as the end date of the original payment plan. Thus only the distribution and schedule of payments may be modified. Payment plan terms 1. Once a resident is on a payment plan, s/he no longer accrues late fees on the payments covered by the payment plan. 2. The payment plan shall begin on the original due date of the first payment to be delayed, and shall end no later than 3 months thereafter. (For example, if a Resident requests a payment plan for January rent and/or food payment, the payments must be scheduled such that rent and food payment for January, February, and March will all be paid in full by April 5.) 3. The payment plan shall include all rent and food payments, and any other fees due during the period of the payment plan. 4. If a new Resident cannot pay their first month’s rent, no payment plan will be issued. 5. A payment plan shall have no payments scheduled later than the fifth of the last month of a Resident’s lease period. 6. Once a Resident has been issued a Three-Day Notice, that person is not eligible for a payment plan. 7. All payments made on a payment plan must be made by “Verified Payment” (see definition above). 8. Ostara may place additional restrictions on a particular Resident’s payment plan if it finds the Resident to be repeatedly non-compliant with payment policies. Normal rent violation time-line 1. The following timeline may only be modified by Ostara, by a consensus vote at a house meeting. 2. On the 6th of the month, late rent and food payments are due. Residents shall be charged a $15 per day late fee for each overdue payment for rent and $5 for food. For example, if a Resident still hasn’t paid for food or rent on the 7th of the month, they owe $40 in late fees, in addition to their normal rent and food payments. This $40 is $5 for food and $15 for rent on the 6th plus $5 for food and $15 for rent on the 7th. If multiple rent or food payments are overdue (e.g. both February and March rents have not been paid) then each of them will accrue their own stream of $5 for food and $15 for rent a day late fees. 3. On the 6th of the month the Ostara house accountant will issue a late payment warning issued to any Resident in debt. 4. On the 6th of the month the Ostara house accountant will inform the house by email of all Residents who are in debt, and the amounts of their debts to the house. 5. If, on the 14th of the month, a payment plan has not been approved or full repayment has not been received, and the debt of the Resident is equal to or exceeds the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease, then the Ostara house accountant will immediately serve the Three-Day Notice to the Resident. 6. On the 17th of the month, rent demanded by Three-Day Notice is due. 7. On the 18th of the month, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice will be terminated. The Ostara house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center. Payment plan violation timeline 1. Payment is due on the days specified in the approved payment plan. 2. If payment is not made on a specified due date, the Ostara house accountant will report that a payment was missed, at the next possible Ostara house meeting. 3. At that meeting a consensus vote of Ostara Residents is required to allow the Resident-in-debt to submit another acceptable payment plan. 4. If there is no new consensus payment plan for the Resident by the end of that meeting and the debt of the Resident is equal to or exceeds the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease, then the Ostara house accountant will immediately serve the Three-Day Notice to the Resident demanding full payment of past-due rent. 5. On the 4th day after payment is due, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice is terminated. The Ostara house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center. Returned (bounced) checks 1. The house accountant will notify the Resident whose check was returned. The Resident will be charged a $5/day late fee for each day from the day of notification until a Verified Payment is received by the house accountant. In addition, any bad check fees charged to Ostara will be paid by the Resident. (For example, US Bank currently charges a $19 bad check deposit fee). 2. Repayment is due by Verified Payment, seven days after the House accountant notifies the Resident of a returned check. On or before this date the Resident may request a payment plan to cover the amount past due. 3. If, on the eighth day after notifying the Resident of a returned check, a payment plan has not been approved or full repayment has not been received, and the debt of the Resident is equal to or exceeds the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease, then the Ostara house accountant will immediately serve the Three-Day Notice to the Resident. 4. On the 4th day after payment is due, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice is terminated. The Ostara house accountant will notify the Boulder Housing Coalition board that the lease of the Resident has been terminated. The BHC staff will inform the former Resident of the termination and require the individual to vacate the premises. If necessary, BHC staff will file an eviction suit at the Boulder County Justice Center. 5. 5. Any Resident whose checks have been returned 2 or more times will be required to make all future payments to Ostara Community Housing for both rent and food by Verified Payment. House Rules The Ostara House Rules are incorporated into the Ostara Lease Meetings Guidelines for Creating Safe Space Confidentiality: what happens at Ostara stays at Ostara No personal attacks; Avoid assuming that everyone else agrees with your perspective; instead, use "I" statements, instead of, "We all think that that you should..." Guests are not allowed at conflict resolution meetings or weekly house meetings unless approved. In house meetings, everyone has the right not to share and the right to pass. It helps if people have respect for and openness to group process. Listen to others; be honest. Mandatory meetings are held after dinner on Tuesdays! They last 2 hours. Meeting: All co-opers must attend house meetings, which are held once a week. We ask you not to be significantly late or leave too early. As we always say, consensus is a present process, so if you’re not there, we can’t involve you in choices & decisions. Meetings are a time to check in with your fellow housemates, share information and make decisions about the house. The Ostara Co-op is a fully democratic system and everyone’s vote has equal weight. All house rules, policies and commitments are agreed on by consensus – this means majority does NOT rule. Instead, we strive to find creative solutions that work for everyone. Facilitation, note-taking & vibes watching rotate voluntarily each week. Order of Meeting: 1) Co-Op member Check In – Communities –AND Appreciation– How are you doing? and Anything cool goin’ on around town or in house? And share Appreciation for other House members (anything from that week) 2) Labor Reports (On stewardships & chores) 3) Approve last Meetings Notes 4) Ask for Facilitator for Next Meeting 5) Agenda Items (What’s happenin’ with the house? What do we need to discuss & reach agreement upon?) 5a) – Proposals (clarifying questions – concerns) 5b) – Discussion Items 5c) – Announcements 6) Check out – Heart Song (How ya feelin’?) (See page 17!) 7) Facilitator Feedback (How’d s/he do tonight?) Quorum: Equal to half the members residing in the house (round up if unequal number) is required for any decisions to be made at a meeting. All proposals must be agreed upon by consensus. Note the 2 important parts of meeting: house business, and Heart Song which offers a focus on emotional connection and support. This is a safe space for personal growth and also a great way to get to know your housemates better. It can be a lot of fun, too. (See page 35 if you need a full description of Heart Song.) Meeting Agendas Agenda Items must be titled and listed on the meeting board, located across from the Labor Board, with, level of priority, name of cooper, and if it is a discussion, proposal, or announcement. Facilitator, at the beginning of meeting, review the agenda before starting with the 1st item. At the end of meeting, make sure your note-taker notes which items we didn’t get to. Ostarans, questions to ask yourselves before you put something on the agenda: Is this something I could bring up informally outside of meeting, to get a feel for what others think of it? Is this a discussion that deserves a handout or visual aid? If so, am I prepared with those materials? Could this be delegated to a committee, or do we all need to hash out the details together? How to Determine Priority Level: 1 – This is time-sensitive and must be discussed tonight, or else we’ll have to get consensus outside of meeting. 2 – We really need to talk about this as a group. If we don’t talk about it soon, there will be problems. 3 – I’d like to talk about this tonight. It’s very important to me. I have already spoken with people about it outside of meeting. 4 – I want to talk about this if there’s time. I don’t know how important others will think it is. 5 –This is something fun or silly we should squeeze in if we’re getting restless or irritable. Voting How to Vote Thumb up = I approve Thumb sideways = I would like more discussion Hand flat/palm down = I abstain because I don’t care or I’m uninformed Thumb down = I block Blocks must be vocalized!!! Things that must be approved by consensus: -Any guest staying more than three nights -House parties or potlucks -Any document that claims to represent the house as a whole -Changes to house stewardships, rules, policies or budget -Any house purchase over $25 Consensus All house decisions must be approved at a house meeting by consensus of the house members. If a member blocks the proposal is revised. The decision will be tabled until the next meeting, or for 24 hours if it is an emergency decision. Upon this time's expiration, the house will reconvene and attempt again to reach consensus. On the third try, if consensus is still not achieved, a 2/3 majority can approve the proposal. This is rare and only happens with issues of dire importance. Ex: if the house had termites and we couldn’t get consensus on a removal procedure. Why do we use consensus? Consensus is intended to be an equal, fair, non-hierarchical decision making process. By using it instead of yay-versus-nay, we activate our abilities & skills to build a better, more just world! How does it work? Consensus works by hearing all participants’ voices & by all participants coming to an agreement collectively about what is best for the group. All decisions made must be ones that everyone in the group can live with; as nice as it would be, it would be impossible for all individuals in communities/groups to be ecstatically happy with all decisions at all times. So this means . . . 1) the minority voice(s) is (are) never silenced. 2) if a minority member of a community/group finds s/he cannot live with the proposal everyone else likes, s/he may block it. If someone blocks a proposal, then the group must choose a different course of action, come to some sort of compromise proposal OR, in the worst case scenario, the blocking individual leaves the group if the community is no longer the place for her or him. This is why we must use our blocks very carefully and with lots of thought! Consensus can be a time-consuming process, so here are some hand signals & things that help make the process at Ostara meetings smoother & quicker: Twinkling—really this is applause in sign language, used to indicate consensus as well as to show agreement when someone else is talking—this way the group can avoid saying the same things over & over. (Ask someone to demonstrate.) “T”—for a technical point that needs to be said to clarify what a speaker just said. Triangle with your hands—Process Point: anyone in the meeting can support the facilitator by suggesting a process to help the group move forward or stay on track. Direct Responses—After someone has spoken, if someone else wants to respond directly to that speaker but they are not on stack, they can ask, “Can I direct respond?” The speaker can say yes or no. But you can’t respond to a direct response! This prevents dialogue between two people from occurring and keeps the group on stack so everyone will have their opportunity to speak. Tips for Meeting Facilitation Keep a Stack -- when discussing an issue, jot down an ordered list of people waiting to speak so no one dominates or gets ignored or loses circulation in their arm. Draw conversation back to the subject at hand and note repeating ideas. Don’t abuse your ability to self-acknowledge as speaker. Stay neutral. If you are involved in the debate, hand facilitation off to someone uninvolved. Please also read the Masala Facilitation Manual! Consensus and facilitation are civic skills; they need to be learned. With practice, we all get better and better so don’t be worried if this is new to you — you’ll catch on! Many things can be resolved outside of meetings by just asking/talking to housemates
Structure for Talking about Proposals Report/Assessment of Situation/Definition of Problem Proposal to alleviate the problem at hand Clarifying Questions (which are addressed to the person making the proposal) Discussion of Proposal Facilitator Asks for Any Reservations NO = test for consensus YES = continue process Facilitator asks for clarifying questions about reservations Discussion of reservations -Possible friendly amendments (proposer must accept or reject) -OR withdrawal of proposal Test for Consensus If no consensus, then the proposal does not pass Heart Song Ostara got the Heart Song idea from Chrysalis folks. Other co-opers do it too: “Heart Club” at Lama Foundation in Northern New Mexico is like our Heart Song. Scott Thomas, writing in Communities Magazine, says "It's an opportunity to truly investigate who we are and allow others to see sides of us they don't see at work, play or mealtime." This process -- which we try to incorporate into the beginning or end (usually end) of every house meeting -- allows folks in the circle to get into the heart space, and get to know each other better as family. Scott says co-op living is a little like a group marriage in which all are committed to the emotional needs of the circle. Heart Song helps to fortify this commitment to the commons. Please no laundry lists of “I did this, I’m about to do that, this happened yesterday,” unless these events in your life are significant and they relate to who you are & how you’re feeling. It is up to each co-oper how deeply or how much to share, but the goal is to share in a way that allows people to connect to you intimately, whether you have positive or troubling things going on in your heart. Hopefully this will come to feel like a safe place to tell us what you’re working on, what you’re proud of, after all, this is your home. Food Here at Ostara we’ve found that a well-fed co-oper is a happy co-oper! If there’s something you like to eat that we don’t currently buy, you can request that we buy it in bulk if the majority of co-opers will also eat it. Or, put it on the food shop list by writing your request on the communication board, though budget restrictions may apply. House food can be used for daily breakfast, lunch & snacks; Mon-Thurs dinner and Sunday dinner are communal. If dietary restrictions or time conflicts prevent you from eating a house meal, please try not to cook your own food while the house meal is being prepared. Cook & clean up after yourself BEFORE the cooks begin, or after they finish. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOU COOK FOR YOURSELF! The dinner cleaning crew should only have to clean up the dinner mess. If you find someone else’s mess in the kitchen, go ahead and clean it. Though we may forget to say it, the whole house thanks you. This includes emptying the dishwasher/drying rack. You are encouraged to cook desserts, breads, staple food items like rice or beans, hummus, and other treats for the house occasionally. Any expenditures for house treats can be reimbursed if you submit the receipt in the food tray with your name on it, but please keep our limited budget in mind. If you have personal food, be sure to put it in the Left Fridge & put your name on it or risk it disappearing into the tummy of some hungry Ostaran. This may be impossible with frozen food. Try putting it in a paper bag & name the paper bag. Housemates have agreed on the following food commitments & premises: Food Commitments Full 100% commitment to organic produce, and mostly organic other foods. Food purchasers have discretion over cost-effective, non-organic purchasing, but this should occur rarely. We will not discriminate against anyone who wishes to eat cheap non-organic food that is not communal food, that they buy on their own. We honor dietary restrictions & food allergies — just tell us what your needs are! House will provide, from the communal food budget, enough food for 3 reasonable meals, every day, for every housemate. House is committed to buying food at Vitamin Cottage, Costco, or organic food from other stores or the farmers market, for weekly food shop, and we buy bulk from UNFI/or any other large bulk buyer (Golden Organics, Costco) & produce from our local farm in summer. We trust the food buyers to focus on cost effectiveness. Remember to thoroughly wash (with soap!) utensils and dishes that come into contact with meat. Please turn on the overhead fan when cooking meat to reduce the smell. Avoid using wooden cutting boards and utensils (use plastic cutting board) and the kitchen tabletop. $155 is due each month for food! Cooking for the House There are typically 2 cooks for each meal, though you may have to go solo sometimes. Cooking is voluntary, we sign up on the chore board every other meeting. You should be ready to begin cooking an hour and a half before meal time, earlier if you’re cooking alone. Check the Late Plate Board, which is below the cook and clean board, to see who needs a plate saved and if any guests are coming. A good meal should include a protein dish and a grain dish, salads are great too. You don’t have to be fancy; though fancy is nice sometimes, spaghetti or rice and beans are perfectly fine meals. You can buy extras that are not normally purchased for your meal with the $5 per meal budget. We Love Leftovers! Too much food is a good thing, too little is bad, if unsure how much to cook, over do it. IF YOU SIGN UP TO COOK AND DON’T SHOW, PEOPLE WILL BE PISSED! It puts your fellow cook in a difficult situation and lets the whole house down, don’t do it! Signing up to eat dinner, and Late Plates IF you will be LATE to dinner and still want to enjoy the fab nosh, you can reserve a late plate! The Late Plate Board where you write when you will/will not be here for meals is the same board where we sign up for chores. If you are bringing a guest or a few guests, mark +1, +2, etc . . . IF you are COOKING: look at the late plate board and make plates for anyone who requested a plate! IF you are CLEANING: label and cover late plates and put them in the fridge … thanks! Food Fivers There is $30 each week for specific food requests. These requests have to be made prior to the week. If every member signs up to cook/clean two times per week the system will run vewy vewy smoothly! How to Clean the Kitchen Store leftovers in Tupperware, Labeled with DATE and description; write if they are vegan or gluten free Wash dishes Take care with pans & woks – See special care for Cast Iron on next page Empty compost buckets and RINSE OUT buckets to avoid funk Wipe down counter, stove and tables Sweep Floor You could also tidy the hallway, living room, dining room if there are extra volunteers on hand to clean up after meals! Dishwashing, Granny’s Method LEFT FRIDGE bottom & Freezer Leftovers for all Personal Food (with NAME) Produce in bins that did not fit in Right Fridge Things in left freezer are probably NOT house food. They should be labeled or stored in a bag that is labeled. RIGHT FRIDGE & Freezer House Food Condiments & salad dressing, cheese, eggs from bulk, yogurt & more Sprouted Bread needs to be refrigerated! No need to refrigerate chicken eggs Butter Dish The butter dish should NEVER be in the fridge, this defeats the purpose of a butter dish. If you use the last of the butter, clean the dish to prevent rancid butter remains & replace butter stick. If you use the last stick in the fridge, take some out of the freezer & put in fridge. Cast Iron Care NEVER leave cast iron wet in sink Do Not use soap on cast iron: EVER!!! Do use plastic bristle brush or scrub pad and water to remove any crusty gunk or residue (salt is a good abrasive too) When frying eggs just wipe out any residue Do dry pan over flame!! Do coat pan with a little oil (if it drips it’s too much) • If the skillet has lost its black protective coating, or food sticks badly to the surface, it needs to be cured again. How to Cure Cast Iron: Put the pan in the oven to warm it. Remove it and apply shortening. Put it in the oven at 225 degrees for half an hour. Remove it and wipe it almost dry. You don't want any pooling of the shortening. Place it back in the oven for another half hour PLEASE, Do not leave half eaten fruit in the fruit bowls! Food Shopping – Needs editing by Jenny The Food Shop Budget is $120 a week: $80 on Saturday/$40 on Wednesday. (This varies from summer, to not-summer. Check the house food budget, which is posted in the phone nook.) We do two food shops a week: one on Wednesday and one on Saturday. The Saturday shop is about twice the size of the Wednesday shop. The amount we budget for these shops varies with the seasons. In general, when we are getting produce from our CSA, the Flatirons Neighborhood Farm, we budget less for food shops. See the annual food budget to see how it changes throughout the year. The food budget tells the food shoppers how much they are allowed to spend. Food shoppers must put receipts in the proper place, so food accountant can balance our budget. Everyone please bring things up from the basement that need to be brought up (i.e. if we are out of paper towel rolls in the laundry room, but we have more in the basement) and bring things down to the basement that need to be brought down (i.e. extra jars of lemon juice that we might not have room for in the pantry). Re-fill bulk food containers in the kitchen from bulk bags in the basement. Always consult the basement & do a thorough search on all kitchen shelves before asking bulk food steward to order more or something like grains, spices or teas. Stay in contact with the bulk food steward — if we run out of something & you used the last of it, note that on the clipboard so bulk steward will order it. It’s OK to return food at check out if the purchase is going way over budget Food Shop should be done on WED and on SATURDAY We shop @ Vitamin Cottage b/c they take our checks Sign up for Food Shop on the cook/clean dry erase board SAMPLE FOODSHOP LIST If everyone does their part, we will have balance, happiness & a clean & lovely home! Recycling We do single stream recycling. That means we toss recyclable glass bottles & jars, plastic drinking bottles, aluminum cans, clean/washed-off sheets of aluminum foil, empty milk jugs, paper, junk mail, cardboard, etc etc etc — all together in the same bin. The city collects our recycling on Thursday mornings, so our Recycling Steward should keep an eye on the bin in the kitchen by the back door & take it out frequently, especially before Thursday morning. Boulder also features a few facilities like [EcoCycle] and the [Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials] (CHARM). We usually keep a bag of items we are collecting for a run to CHARM, either near the back door or in the rainbow closet in the first floor hallway by the stairs. This is where batteries and electronics can be stored until the next run to EcoCycle. Compost It might seem at first like it’s difficult or confusing to throw things away at Ostara! Don’t worry -- you’ll get the hang of it! We have 3 potential places for compostable materials: 1. If your food or vegetable skins or stems would appeal to our chickens, please give them treats. A full list of what chickens do & do not like is posted on the wall near the back door. This info can also be found in the Encyclopedia of Country Living, on our dining room book shelf. 2. If it’s a fruit or vegetable or non-meat or cheese food, but the chickens wouldn’t dig it, put it in our compost that goes in the bin in our back yard. 3. If it’s a large quantity of bread (such as the leftover baguettes on a Tuesday night, from the bread donation the week before) or if it’s wet or used paper towels, or even if it’s compost from one of the bathrooms such as tissue or cotton balls, these are all things the city will collect. They go to the alley. Common Space and Common Courtesies Quiet Hours Designated house quiet hours are 10pm - 9am. However, it's always courtesy hours. If someone asks you to be quiet because they have to get up at 6am, be considerate. Lights All lights should be turned OFF when not in use. Computers – needs to be set up (new steward?) Conflicts Sometimes, in a house of a dozen or more people, issues/disagreements/conflicts may need mediation. Please begin by trying to work out your differences on your own. Then, if you need support, there are a few Conflict Resolution Point People to help. These people have been selected by the house and have conflict resolution training. Violence is never an acceptable response and will not be tolerated in our community. Intimate Relationships Within the House People living in close proximity often end up being attracted to each other. In fact, short of purely internet based dating, proximity is kind of a prerequisite for having an intimate relationship. In a cooperative household there are community implications for intimacy between housemates, and before you embark on a relationship within the house, it's worth doing a little introspection. A few questions you might want to consider: Have you ever lived with someone that you've had an intimate relationship with? What was that experience like? Living with other people in a co-op is a lot like having the domestic parts of a live-in relationship, and catapulting directly from mutual attraction to full-on domestic partnership can feel like a lot to deal with. How good are you at handling the end of a relationship? Have your past relationships tended to end amicably, or with a lot of hurt feelings and drama? Are you still on good terms with most of your former lovers? How many of them would you be willing to live with today? How many of them would you have been willing to live with immediately after your intimate relationship ended? If your prospective relationship were to go bad, would you be willing to move out of the house for the good of the community? Living together in a co-op it's often clear when something intimate is going on between housemates, even if they haven't spoken about it, but it can be very difficult to figure out whether it's casual, committed, or somewhere in between. It might not seem like anybody else's business, but the lack of communication can end up being hurtful. If someone violates the norms of the intimate relationship, and other house members witness it but don't say anything (because they don't know what those norms are) the wronged party can still end up feeling betrayed by other members of the house. For that reason, we encourage members to consider being open with each other about the status of their relationships within the house, either in one-on-one conversations or in Heart Song. Similarly, if you're involved in a relationship within the house, you shouldn't be surprised if other housemates ask you how it's going, or what form it takes. Their emotional well being and space will potentially be influenced by your relationship, so it's not necessarily prying in the same way it might be if another person inquired. It's just part of living this closely together. Laundry Laundry detergent is a house item, located in the laundry room. If it’s sunny and warm out, use the clothes line, not the dryer. This conserves our energy that we get from the sun (and also, Xcel)! Always check the lint trap so we don't burn the house down. Laundry is first-come first-serve. Weekends are high traffic times. When doing laundry please leave your basket so the next person in line can deposit your clothes into a clean receptacle. Remove your clothes from the laundry room promptly. If you’re next in line and there is no basket we have a house basket you can use so the person’s clean clothes don’t get tossed onto the dirty floor. There are full directions posted in the laundry room. Lost and Found Any items left in common rooms are placed in Lost and Found when it’s cleaning time. Try to take responsibility for your belongings and keep them out of common space so that the cleaners don’t have to. Purging Stuff We don't want to have a never ending accumulation of crap that nobody uses hiding in all the nooks and crannies of the house. So occasionally, some stuff needs to go. At the same time, it's very difficult for any individual to identify all of the things that other people in the house use on a regular basis, and there are a non-trivial number of things in public space, meant for public use, that actually do belong to some individual. Here's a protocol that we've used in the past for purges (of books, utensils, toiletries, etc) that has worked well, and avoids accidentally discarding something someone wants. 1. Find a big box. 2. Put all the things you think we should get rid of in the box. 3. Pick a date by which people need to rescue their favorite things from the box (usually a week out). 4. Announce to everyone in the house (meeting and email) that a purge is taking place, noting the location of the box and the purging date. 5. Put the box in a public place with a sign on it listing the date, and reminding people they need to rescue their favorite things by that date. 6. On the purge date, the items meet their fate -- under the stairs, going public (e.g. w/ toiletries), getting tossed, etc. Message Board The white board in the kitchen/dining room hall is for house messages. They are often important and sometimes interesting. Use it and check it often, however, do not use it to passive-aggressively make complaints about individuals or behaviors in the house. Instead, communicate your complaints directly to the perpetrator(s), either one-on-one or in a house meeting. Parking Please look for street parking. We reserve the driveway for unloading and loading. Tell your significant others & visitors & house guests this rule, please. Rent and Food Payments Rent and food payments are due by the 5th of each month. To pay: in the phone nook are two trays, one labeled rent, the other food. There are also two stamps, one for food, one for rent. Stamp the back of your check with the appropriate stamp and place it in the correct tray. Yes, you must write two separate checks — they go into two different bank accounts. If you’re going to have trouble paying by the due date, consult the Debt and Payment Plan Policies in the House Bylaws, below. Submitting Receipts Receipts for food purchases for the house, including food shop and food fivers, should be placed in the envelopes on the sewing table. Any household supply receipts are placed in the rent tray, so the House Accountant can keep track of our expenses or reimburse you. You must write your name or identifying initials on the receipt, as well as a unique receipt number. There are two clip-boards, one for food and one for non-food items which you buy for the house. When you submit a receipt for reimbursement, you must fill in a line on the appropriate clipboard with your name or identifying initials, and details about the purchase, including the unique number you wrote on the receipt before you put it in the box, so that the house accountants can tell which receipts go with what purchases for budgeting purposes. Smoking Cigarettes may NOT be smoked in the house. Smoking outside is fine but please place butts in an appropriate receptacle, never on the ground. All other smoke should be kept in your own room or outside. Storage Anything you can’t fit in your closet can go in the basement, in your designated storage space marked with your name.. The Furnace Closet should have NOTHING in it — it’s a fire hazard. Supplies Cost of household supplies is included in your utilities fee of $60 per month! Here’s where to find ‘em: Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, and cleaning supplies live in the laundry room. Trash Bags can be found in the Rainbow Closet in the 1st floor hallway near the Kitchen. Garden Supplies are stored in the Shed. Check with the Garden Steward to get the combination to the door. Toilets Our sewer system is persnickety, big time, especially the first floor which gets the most traffic. If it’s yellow, don’t let it mellow, since too much accumulated paper will clog it. If you take a dump, wait for the final gurgle to be sure it all goes down, otherwise the next person is left cleaning up your shit, literally. Plungers don’t cut it, use the snake. The snake is a long metal pole with a coiled knob at one end and a handle at the other. This can be found outside the main 1st floor bathroom window, if it’s not there ask around. To use, insert curved end into toilet drain. Once inserted turn and push and crank the handle so the knob snakes down the drain as far as it can go. Pull handle back up and rinse off the knob. Toilet should now be flushable. Clean up any overflow. Feel free to ask for a demo. Don’t be embarrassed — everybody poops. Vacuum Cleaner It’s kept in the downstairs maintenance closet. Pets We have a pet wing, which pets are allowed in. Otherwise no pets are allowed in the house. The only rooms allowed to have pets are in the pet wing, which is the East wing on the second floor. Guest Policy Members may have guests stay in the house for up to three days without house approval, but if they're going to be staying in public space it's good to at least announce it at meeting and/or via the house email list ahead of time, so that we don't accidentally end up with six guests fighting for the same spot on the couch. If a member plans on having a guest for more than three days, or if there is even a possibility that the guest may stay in the house for more than three days, the house must approve the stay by consensus in advance. It is the policy of Ostara to welcome any guests affiliated with co-ops from other regions into the house for a reasonable amount of time and by house approval. The guest should contact the house prior to his/her arrival in order to allow the house to discuss and approve the stay in advance. All guests must have a designated host within the house. The host is responsible for making sure their guests understand house rules and processes, ensuring they pay boarding fees, and mediating any conflicts that might arise between the guest and other house members. The day of their arrival, please write your guest’s name on the house message board so we know who’s sleeping on our couch or in whatever bed. If they eat here at all, it costs $5 a day. They can put cash in the food in-box in the phone nook, give it to the Food Accountant directly, or you can pay their way if you feel more comfortable with that. Payment of Deposit by Installment Upon acceptance and moving into the house, a new member is required to make a deposit of one month’s rent due to the house accountant. This deposit can be paid in installments of one third a month’s rent for three months if the new member cannot afford to pay two months’ rent upon his/her arrival into the house. It is preferred that new members pay their deposit in one payment if possible. Non-Food Reimbursements Members may purchase non-food items for the house that cost less than $25.00 without house approval and will be guaranteed reimbursement. More expensive purchases must be approved in advance at a house meeting, or reimbursement is not guaranteed. Receipts must be submitted in order to receive a reimbursement. Room Choosing Procedure Every room change shall be approved by consensus of the house at a house meeting wherein any issues of contention over the room change shall be addressed. No one shall be displaced from his/her room without his/her consent. All members interested in the room (contestants) should deliberate before the meeting as well as speak with the Conflict Resolution Point People. The following needs may be considered by the house. 1. Physical 2. Financial 3. Emotional 4. Professional 5. Practical Compatibility and good of the house may also be considered. If no one has needs that are greater than another’s, the contestants will draw straws and it will be over. No Television Ostara hereby decrees itself to be free of the mind-deadening influence of corporate programming on television within public areas, except for house movie-viewing, which is creative, delightful and creates community! No Firearms No firearms or explosives are permitted within the house.