By Filiz Gurer, News Editor, and Molly Pipe, SU Correspondent.
The co-operative hopes to provide cheaper, better maintained housing options for students.
Bristol Student Housing Co-op is now accepting applications for members, each of whom will own a share in the co-operative.
The enterprise, which became a legal entity in November, is the first of its kind in the city. Launched by a group of Bristol students, it plans to buy accommodation which will then be jointly managed by students.
OUR MEMBERSHIP FORM IS LIVE!— Bristol Student Housing Co-op (@BristolStuCoop) April 21, 2021
This is an exciting day as we can now form a real cooperative, led by our members to provide affordable, accessible, democratic housing for young people in Bristol.
Sign up here! 👇https://t.co/Iq2UX0Nj7o
The group says that removing private landlords from the picture will get rid of the profit incentive that encourages some property owners to hike rent and avoid carrying out expensive maintenance.
Instead, they hope, the student-managed accommodation will be cheaper and of higher quality. According to BSHC, a similar enterprise in Edinburgh charges accommodation fees that are £175 per month cheaper than the city's average student rent price.
Students over the age of 18 can apply to become a legal member of the co-operative by completing this form.
Applicants can indicate which of BSHC's working groups they wish to join, from 'governance and finance' to 'recruitment and membership'.
Those successful will pay £1 to become a legal member. They will then gain full voting rights, allowing them to help shape the future direction of the co-operative.
Members will also be able to move into property acquired by the co-operative in the future.
The co-operative will buy their properties by borrowing money, which they will then use income from rent to pay back. Students will not be required to pay large sums up front to fund the purchase of houses.
A representative from BSHC confirmed that the group is still in the process of buying its first property, which will be followed by more properties should the enterprise be a success. Despite starting with just one house, it is looking to purchase a building with around 15-20 beds to accommodate a significant number of members.
A vote at the Students' Union's Annual Member's Meeting ruled that the co-operative would receive support from the union, including possible legal guidance.
Featured: Bristol Student Housing Co-op
Will you apply to become a member of the housing co-operative?