Stroud Housing Commons: latest news, Jun 2024

We’re building a housing commons in Stroud, and recording everything so that it’s replicable in any town. We’re finalising our partnership agreement, after which we’ll put the first house in the commons. Here’s where we’re at. We’ll be upgrading the website soon, and adding sections for housing, climbing, land and energy.


Stroud Housing Commons: who we are and how to contact us

The housing commons idea: short explanation

The housing commons idea: more details

Stroud Housing Commons: the plan

Would you like to be a tenant?

Would you like to invest?

Would you like to be a steward (employee)?

Growing the housing commons everywhere

Would you like to start a housing commons group in your town?

Stroud Housing Commons: who we are and how to contact us

We’re a group of Stroud residents who’ve come together to launch a housing commons in Stroud. Some of us are looking to become tenants, some investors, and some stewards (employees – managing the scheme and maintaining properties). But we’d all like to see a better housing system in this country, with affordable, well-maintained houses with secure tenancies – and we’re excited by commons ideas. 

We meet in each other’s homes one evening per month, and we communicate via a Signal group. If you’d like to get involved, either as a prospective tenant, investor or steward, please read the information on this page, and contact us

The housing commons idea: short explanation

Housing commons is a way of providing good-quality, affordable housing with secure tenancies. Houses in a housing commons are owned by the community in perpetuity, not by individuals or businesses (even co-operative businesses) or the state / local authority. 

A housing commons is a partnership of 4 member groups: tenants, investors, stewards, and a custodian / commons safeguarder group with a veto vote to ensure that commons principles are adhered to, and that houses are never sold out of the commons. 

The commons group issues rent vouchers that can be redeemed for accommodation in commons housing. Vouchers are purchased by investors and/or tenants, and the cash raised is used to purchase more properties. This avoids debt to the banking system. 

The housing commons idea: more details

Here are some more detailed explanations of the housing commons:

  1. Introduction to the housing commons ideas, by Dave Darby of
  2. A brief introduction to commons housing, by Dil Green of Mutual Credit Services
  3. Diagram by Michelle Grant of Stroud Commons
  4. 4 stories, from the perspecive of seller, tenant, investor and housing commons group
  5. Imagine…

Stroud Housing Commons: the plan

We’re about to put the first house into Stroud Housing Commons. The house is on Horns Road, near the Crown & Sceptre pub. We have prospective tenants and stewards and custodians. The current owners will receive 25 years’ worth of rent vouchers for the property.

Here’s an article by the current owners, about why they’re putting a house into the commons.

We’re forming a partnership, and the stewards’ group will be incorporated, probably as a company limited by guarantee. We have potential investors, who will purchase rent vouchers issued by the housing commons, and the cash will be used to buy more properties. 

We’ve produced a draft partnership agreement, tenancy agreement, stewards’ role document and Direction, Vision and Ethics:

Partnership agreement

Here’s our current partnership agreement. It needs to be finalised, especially policies.

Direction, vision, ethics

[Need to be finalised.] 

Direction: Towards a community-owned housing sector in Stroud, providing affordable, good-quality homes with security of tenure, without debt to the banking sector, with strong asset locks so that houses are never sold out of the commons, and connected via the credit commons protocol to other commons sectors in Stroud, and housing commons groups in other towns.

Vision: A Stroud Housing Commons (SHC) with 100 houses, after which new groups to be founded in other parts of Stroud – so that there will be several, local housing commons groups in Stroud, not just one.


  • A housing commons group ideally holds no more than 100 houses, after which, new groups can be formed to own houses in smaller geographical areas.
  • SHC will purchase houses with cash raised from the sale of rent vouchers, issued by SHC.
  • Rent vouchers are not denominated in the national currency, but in square metres of the minimum standard of local property that can be rented. More desirable properties (in terms of location, condition, parking, garden, view etc.) are priced at more vouchers per square metre (rental value is ascertained by a local valuer / surveyor).
  • Investors (of cash or houses), tenants and stewards (managing the scheme and maintaining properties) will be full members of SHC.
  • Anyone holding SHC rent vouchers must be a member of SHC.
  • For any SHC house, there are never more than 25 years’ worth of rent vouchers in circulation, and they can only be issued for houses that the commons group owns, and are in good enough condition to be rented out.
  • Affordability will be achieved by providing rent rebates to tenants after 2 years as a member.
  • There will be a ‘custodian’ member class, comprised of a trusted member(s) chosen by the group, with a veto vote to ensure that commons principles are adhered to.
  • SHC obtains income for maintaining the properties and providing rent rebates from re-selling vouchers redeemed by tenants.
  • SHC will maintain properties to a high standard, with security of tenure for tenant members.
  • SHC will purchase a range of housing types, including low-cost housing, to ensure affordability for all.
  • Housing commons groups in different parts of Stroud, and in other towns, to be connected together sociocratically?

Would you like to be a tenant?

Please contact us if you’d like to be considered as a tenant of Stroud Housing Commons. You’ll be added to a waiting list and contacted when we have more properties.

As a tenant, you can pay rent with cash, or you can buy rent vouchers – at a small discount, so your rent will be cheaper. The discount is worked out by the management committee of the housing commons group, and is possible because there’s no scarcity of vouchers, and no debt to repay. This provides affordability and security for tenants, in well-maintained, well-insulated, high quality properties that they’re actually co-owners of. If there’s a waiting list, the group can vote to prioritise local people in housing need.

There’s a marketplace for the vouchers (an app – a bit like eBay). Investors put them up for sale, and tenants buy them. The interests of tenants and investors are aligned, in that investors want the rental value of the houses to remain high (to maintain the value of their vouchers); and tenants want good-quality housing (which keeps the rental value high). Investors get a one-off return, but there’s no interest to be paid to mortgage companies, and commons houses will never be sold again. In time, the group can wean itself off investors, and rents can fall to the cost of providing housing.

Tenancy agreement

We’re building a tenancy agreement, adapted for a housing commons, from the model agreement for a shorthold assured tenancy, which can be found in full here.

Would you like to invest?

Please contact us if you’d like to be considered as an investor in Stroud Housing Commons. More information below, and we’ll be producing a prospectus soon.

An investor could be anyone with spare cash that they’d like to invest in their local community. This might include people with a deposit for buying a house, that they realise is not going to be possible, and so they might decide to invest in a project that may provide them with housing another way – that also benefits their community.

Vouchers will never be the object of insane speculation and the creation of billionaires (like various financial instruments, including crypto) as they’ll only ever represent rent on existing properties, which tenants can pay in cash if vouchers rise in price, and so they have limits in the real world. Investors can decide to hold on to vouchers as a longer-term, inflation-proof investment – maybe as part of their pension – or they could sell them on to other investors, or to tenants, who will buy them if they are slightly discounted.

Canny investors will realise that a housing commons group has a very healthy balance sheet. Its assets are solid – houses; and on the liabilities side is the requirement to provide housing to tenants, a month at a time. Housing is not like energy or food – it doesn’t have to be reproduced every month. A house just sits there, and needs occasional maintenance (which the investors won’t have to do themselves). They’ll see that 25 years’ worth of vouchers are worth significantly more than the house, and that the housing commons will acquire housing (that will keep rising in value), without incurring debt, which represents an attractive, safe investment – especially in a world of shrinking investment opportunities.

Investors don’t have to see every property – they’d just have to assess the portfolio and the management team. They have to trust that the group can attract tenants by managing the properties well, and choosing properties that people want to live in.

Would you like to be a steward (employee)?

Please contact us if you’d like to be considered as a steward of Stroud Housing Commons. This is a paid role. Here’s more information on the steward’s role.

Steward’s role

  1. Maintain the structure and exterior of the property. Keeping it safe, presentable and free from dilapidation.
  2. Ensure the property is free from serious hazards throughout the tenancy.
  1. Fit / maintain / check smoke alarms on every floor and carbon monoxide alarms in rooms with fixed combustion appliances such as boilers, and make sure they are working at the start of any tenancy.
  2. Deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply.
  3. Maintain any appliances and furniture supplied with the property.
  4. Carry out most minor repairs. Or arrange if beyond scope of carrying out safely and professionally using an approved contract.
  5. Arrange an annual gas safety check by a gas safe engineer (where there are any gas appliances).
  6. Arrange an electrical safety check by a qualified and competent person every five years.
  7. Consider requests for reasonable adjustments from tenants who have a disability or long-term condition. Reasonable adjustments could include changes to the terms of your tenancy or allowing adaptations or adjustments to the property or common parts of the building.
  8. Be first point of contact with tenants for the housing commons.
  9. Stewards must get permission from tenants to access a property and give at least 24 hours’ notice of proposed visits for things like repairs. These visits should take place at reasonable times – neither SHC nor contractor are entitled to enter a property without tenants’ express permission.
  10. Ensure the property is at a minimum of energy efficiency band E (unless valid exemption applies).
  11. Ensure the building is insured to cover the costs of any damage from flood or fire.
  12. Check regularly to ensure that all products, fixtures and fittings are safe and that there haven’t been any product recalls.
  13. Ensure blinds are safe by design and they do not have looped cords to prevent accidents.
  14. Collect rent monthly, record the transactions on the rent spreadsheet and issue receipts to tenants. Chase up any rent arrears and inform SHC of any issues in rent collection asap .
  15. Provide SHC with a bimonthly report on the status of the above points in a standardized template.
  16. Steward should show best value has been achieved for any contracted work above £xxxx by getting 3 quotes and sign off of preferred contractor by SHC.
  17. Steward to provide email summary of any works done including photos, short written summary and costs. With bimonthly report.
  18. A basic risk assessment should be carried out by the Steward before any works. Template for this provided.
  19. Spending permission thresholds. Steward can spend up to £100 in materials for work they carry out or up to £200 for contracted work without seeking approval by SHC. Above those thresholds, Steward needs written (text email etc) from 2 other members of SHC.
  20. Any holiday or period of absence will be unpaid by SHC to a Steward. SHC may appoint a temporary Steward to cover any time off or take on the role themselves temporarily.
  21. Should SHC not be happy with how the Steward role is being delivered they may put the role into review for an agreed period. Usually 2 months. If agreed changes are not made in this review person SHC may choose to end the employment of the Steward. Should the Steward wish to leave the role, they should give notice of 2 months.
  22. Additional tasks may be required as role develops. These to be added to the written role as they arise in agreeance with SHC and Steward. 

Growing the housing commons everywhere

When Stroud Housing Commons is established, we’ll help interested groups to set up housing commons in their town. Town groups will be linked sociocratically with other towns at the county level, and so on up to the national level. 

There will be a national body whose job is to make sure that local housing commons groups stick to the core principles. It can appoint / train / vet local custodians. This body researches trends that will affect the housing commons (including govt. policy), creates guidelines on how to respond to them, and provides arbitration for conflict resolution.

Local groups pay a small membership fee to the society – or there might be system of social franchises. Local groups are autonomous, but subscribe to the models developed by the society.

If any local housing commons group fails (although without debt, they should be robust), the national society will step in to ensure that housing is provided and maintained for vouchers, while working to re-establish good local management with the commoners.

The legal structures around property are different in different countries, so the model will have to be built differently for each country. As the idea develops, groups will have to do the work to develop their model in line with local laws.

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