Masala House Bylaws

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House Bylaws

The members of Masala Cooperative House adopt the following principles in accordance with the spirit of providing cooperative room and board to the people of Boulder, Colorado.

Non-discriminatory membership
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.
Democracy
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.
Education
The house will be a working example of cooperative living and will educate its members and others in the principles of cooperatives.
Neutrality
The house will be a member of no organization other than cooperative societies.
Expansion
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 Masala Cooperative House.

Organization

The name of the house that operates under this set of rules is Masala.

Membership

A full house member (hereafter referred to as, “house member”) shall be any person living in the house who has been approved by consensus of the house to live in the house and who has paid his or her member share, or is participating in the payment plan of his or her member share, and has signed a lease.

A boarding member shall be any person who has paid his or her boarding member share and who has been approved by consensus of the house to board at the house, and has signed the boarding contract with the house. Boarding members must abide by house bylaws and by the boarding system.

Per city policy, Masala Community Housing will give preference to non-student community members in house member selection. In response to the request of the Boulder Housing Coalition, we will fill vacancies by conducting a month-long search for non-students before opening the process to any and all applicants. This policy applies only to the ten permanently affordable house member slots.

Both types of members shall be approved by the house via the following steps:

  1. The prospective member shall attend at least one meal at the house and shall attempt to meet each member of the house.
  2. The prospective member shall attend at least one meeting of the house and shall answer questions from house members and have an opportunity to ask questions of the house.
  3. The house shall approve the prospective member by consensus. This approval shall not be in the presence of the prospective member.
  4. The prospective member shall sign a lease, or boarding contract, and pay or begin paying the member share.
  5. Upon completion of all these steps, the prospective member shall become a member of Masala Community Housing.

The full members of the house shall comprise the board of directors for the house.

Duties of House Members

House members are responsible for the amount of labor as described in the Masala 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 this constitution shall be made in accordance with the following rules:

A member shall propose an amendment in a house meeting.

The proposer shall write up the proposed amendment and post it; it is subject to change by a consensus of those voting.

The amendment will be passed by a consensus of all house members after being posted not less than 7 days in its final form.

A Historical Index of Amendments (meeting notes) shall be duly recorded and attached to all copies of the Masala House Rules for the purpose of explaining the reasons behind changes made in the rules.

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 Masala and the Boulder Housing Coalition to legally occupy a room at 744 Marine Street.
  2. A Payment Plan is a written contract between a Resident and Masala Community Housing, a state of Colorado non-profit corporation, which will hereafter be referred to as "Masala". A payment plan details a modified payment schedule for money owed to Masala. 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.
  3. 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 Masala Resident the choice of either paying the past-due rent or moving out within three days. Masala can serve the tenant this demand by posting the Three-Day Notice on the Resident’s door at 774 Marine 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, Masala 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.
  4. 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. The Resident must request a payment plan from the Masala 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 Masala.
  2. Masala must vote whether or not to approve the proposed payment plan as per the house’s voting rules. Masala 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.
  3. If approved by consensus, a written form of the payment plan will then be signed by the Resident and the Masala 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.
  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. Masala 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

All of the following timelines may only be extended by Masala, by a consensus vote at a house meeting.

  1. On the fifth of the month, rent and food payments are due.
  2. On the 10th of the month, late rent and food payments are due. Residents shall be charged a $5 late fee per payment, per day after the fifth. Then, on the 10th of the month a ten-day warning will be issued to any Resident in debt, by the Masala accountant. On or after the 10th, the names of all Residents who owe rent and food payments or late fees, at this time, will be announced at the house meeting by the house or the food accountant. (For example, if a Resident still hasn’t paid for food or rent on the 7th of the month, they will have accrued a late fee of $20, which is $5 for the 6th for food & $5 for rent, plus $5 for the 7th for food & $5 for rent. This fee amount would need to be paid to the house on the 7th of that month, along with the food & rent payments.)
  3. On the 20th of the month, the Masala house accountant will serve a Three-Day Notice to any and all Residents who do not have an Approved Payment Plan and whose debts are equal to or exceeding the "total monthly rental payment" as stated in section 5B of the individual Resident lease. The Masala house accountant will notify all Residents of Masala by email that a Three-Day Notice has been served, stating the name of the Resident who has been given the notice. At this point the Resident may NOT request a payment plan to cover the amount past due.
  4. On the 24th of the month, rent demanded by Three-Day Notice is due.
  5. On the 25th of the month, the lease of any Resident who has not paid as demanded by their Three-Day Notice will be terminated. The Masala 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 Masala house accountant will report that a payment was missed, at the next possible Masala house meeting.
  3. At that meeting a consensus vote of Masala 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 Masala 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 Masala 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 Masala 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 Masala 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 Masala 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.