MAJ Secondary Rules

(Updated December 2017)


The following guidelines and principles are the “secondary rules” of Mary Ann Johnson Housing Cooperative Limited (MAJ). They are guidelines we would expect every member and prospective member to abide by. These guidelines & principles, along with the “fully mutual rules” and the tenancy agreement of MAJ are the documentation we would work by to achieve our goals and to keep MAJ running successfully.


  1. To take control of our housing needs and provide affordable, secure and self-managed housing for our members
  2. To work in a non-hierarchical way along the general principles of respect, co-operation and mutual-aid and – within the co-op – inclusivity
  3. To provide (where possible) space and resources for groups working for social equality and environmental sustainability, especially those based in Haringey
  4. To work together actively on local campaigns against injustice, and to fight capitalism and promote radical social change
  5. To promote environmental sustainability as far as we can, including in our housing and the way we live and work


We want to see a world based upon equality and co-operation,

where people give according to ability and receive according to their need;

where work is fulfilling and creativity encouraged;

where there are no hierarchies;

where the earth is valued and respected in its own right rather than polluted and exploited.

We see “the co-operative principle” as not just the most effective way to manage property, but the most ethical and the most appropriate for living in harmony with the natural world. We would expect members to be actively involved in helping to create a better society, based on equality and environmental sustainability.

On this basis, we encourage members to;

live and work co-operatively

  • respect others and aim to resolve differences amicably
  • seek to provide mutual aid/support to others who may need it
  • take responsibility for themselves and their actions
  • value children as individuals and respect their ideas and opinions

live as sustainably as they can

  • reduce consumption of environmentally damaging products
  • re-use, recycle or compost rather than binning things
  • walk, cycle or use public transport rather than private motor vehicles, and on this basis wherever possible vehicles belonging to members should be shared in a car pool

prevent suffering to animals

  • Adopt a vegetarian/vegan diet
  • Avoid keeping animals (except assistance dogs) save where it is in the animal’s interest )

Engage in social change activity

  • Actively support and engage in campaigns, organisations and networks seeking the radical political and social changes needed to develop a society based on these values

As we are a housing co-operative all our members are full or prospective tenants or leaseholders. Management of the Co-operative is by meetings held once a month. The date and location of the next meeting are decided by the attendees then publicised to all. Major issues* to be discussed and proposals to be made shall be submitted to the Secretary at least 2 weeks in advance of the meeting, and relayed to all members at least 7 days in advance.

(* some – but not all – examples of major issues would be: proposal of new members; expelling an existing member; any item of expenditure over £500).

All meetings shall:
·           Check if previous decisions have been carried out
·           Record mail received and sent
·           Report back and where necessary discuss the work of each of the Officers.
·           Be attended by at least one third of the members of the Co-op.

The Officer posts are:
·           Secretary
·           Treasurer


All Officers work under the members’ direction.

In order to avoid cash flow problems, members are asked to pay rent by standing order or direct payment, wherever possible, and by prompt monthly payments otherwise.

Decision Making

Although the “fully mutual rules” of MAJ lay down certain voting procedures, it is our aim to take all decisions by consensus wherever possible. By consensus is meant a situation where all members participating in the discussion are in agreement on an issue, or where those not in agreement agree not to maintain an objection. See for more information on consensus decision making.

When an issue is raised and agreement cannot be reached, then it should be returned to a second meeting. If no consensus can be reached at this second meeting, it can then be decided (at the end of this meeting) by the voting rules laid down in the “fully mutual rules”, if the meeting so decides. However, we would urge that all contentious decisions are delayed until consensus can be agreed, wherever possible.

In the event of a dispute, we all share the responsibility of doing what we can to mediate and resolve the conflict, both during and between meetings. We offer each other support and respect each other’s commitments.

Mary Ann Johnson Co-op may at times seek prospective members who will be expected to accept its rules and share its principles (see above). All members and potential members will be expected to carry out a fair share of the work of the housing Co-op.

Prospective members will be invited to meet with all current members of MAJ to discuss what they can contribute to the co-op, on the basis of our Aims & Principles and values as outlined in these Secondary Rules.

Whilst membership is potentially open to anyone, we have set some criteria to use when we assess prospective new members, to help ensure that we find people who will be able to settle in well to the co-op, and so that we continue to achieve our aim of building a strong community.  All members are required to fully support our Primary and Secondary rules. In addition, we will be looking for

·       People who share our values (as set out above) – this is an essential requirement

·       An existing connection to Haringey (or at least a commitment to the local community) is strongly desirable

·       Housing need: this is a strongly desirable criterion, as we would like to ensure that a good proportion, if not the majority, of members are people who would otherwise be unable to access affordable housing. The exact proportion and definition of housing need we can use will depend on how many leasehold members with capital the project requires

·       Involvement in activism/social change work: although this is difficult to define and measure, we feel that it is important that our members are engaged in the community in some respect and taking some action to live out the values we share; therefore we feel it is essential that prospective new members are, have been or have the potential to be politically active or engaged

We will also consider positive discrimination (on the basis of ethnicity, disability, sexuality, age, parent-hood etc) when the above criteria are met. We feel it is important not to be tokenistic, but we may need to positively discriminate to combat existing structures of inequality and oppression, and we are keen for the co-op to have a diverse membership, reflecting the local community and bringing people of different ages together. We are also committed to an ongoing process to explore and address issues of power/inequality/discrimination within our co-op.

Everyone who is a member of MAJ is expected to take some part in its day to day running. The minimum commitment is to attend six meetings a year and to pay their rent and/or service charges promptly, but the success of the Co-op depends on the willingness of members to contribute more than the minimum commitment.

We will therefore also be asking prospective members about what they can contribute practically to the day-to-day running of the co-op and any associated social/community spaces: for example gardening, DIY skills, willingness to take on one of the administrative Officer roles (eg Chair, Secretary, Treasurer). Enthusiasm and willingness to learn are likely to be more important than expertise!

All the above criteria will inform a collective decision on whether or not to accept an applicant for prospective membership.

If there is a consensus [see ‘Decision Making’] about a prospective member at the first meeting where a decision is to be taken, then the said prospective member will be invited to join the co-op. If there is no consensus at the first or second meetings, the decision may be put to a vote at the end of the second meeting.

New tenant members will be offered a probationary tenancy agreement of 6 months, after which a decision will be taken at a general meeting whether to allow the probationary tenant to continue to live in the property. If the meeting agrees, the probationary tenant will become a full member. Should the meeting feel the probationary tenant is not suited to the Co-op they will be asked to leave the co-op and given a further 2 months to find somewhere else to live. During this time, the ex-member will be expected to continue paying rent and bills, and abide by the rules of the Co-op.

As it is impractical to offer a six-month probationary leasehold, there is a different arrangement for prospective leaseholder members. Potential leaseholder members will be invited to register their interest in the co-op early on, and their application will be assessed using the criteria and process outlined above. If they are accepted then they will be invited to become a probationary member and to get involved with the co-op’s meetings, workdays and social activities for at least six months, after which time a decision will be taken at a general meeting whether to allow the probationary member to take up a leasehold. If the meeting agrees, the probationary member will become a full member and the leasehold purchase can take place as and when a leasehold becomes available.

Any member of the Co-op wishing to leave is expected to give at least 2 months notice in writing to the Secretary.

Any member of the co-op who is found to be in serious breach of our Primary or Secondary Rules may likewise be expelled from membership by a general meeting. Tenant members will be given two months to find somewhere else to live. Leasehold members will be given two months to arrange and start the process of selling their leasehold. In both cases the member will be expected to continue paying rent and/or bills and to abide by the rules of the Co-op during this time.

People with responsibilities for children (especially single people) will be encouraged to join the Co-op as both members and prospective tenants/leaseholders. Although overall responsibility of any child will always remain with the carer/parent, other members of the Co-op are encouraged to support the carer/parent in their child-care responsibilities, and support the children in the same way they would any other Co-op member.

Mary Ann Johnson Services
MAJ provides accommodation, adequate insulation and facilities for heating, lighting and running appliances. It will ensure that buildings are not allowed to deteriorate, will reserve a budget for improvements, and will ensure that communal areas will be kept safe. Buildings insurance will be provided by MAJ, but members will be expected to take responsibility for any
other insurance they require.

Communal areas
Members are jointly responsible for maintaining communal areas, and should clear up after themselves. As a number of MAJ members are either vegetarian or vegan, all communal meals and food prepared in communal areas should be either vegetarian or preferably vegan. Internal communal areas are no-smoking areas. Smoking in external communal areas is allowed on the condition that it is done in agreement with whoever shares the area.

Animal Policy

We are still in discussion over our policy towards animals within the collective. This includes both animals in communal areas and animals within member’s own personal space.

Sub Letting


We seek to prioritise having full members, who are actively involved in running the co-op, living in our space.

We do not wish members to profit from their position of membership or their possession of capital assets.

1. Subletting for properties owned by the co-op:

  1. Subletting is permitted with the co-op’s permission and agreement on the subtenant. The normal limit is six months but the member can apply for a longer sublet period in special circumstances, to be agreed by the co-op.
  2. The subtenant pays the same rent/service charge rate to the co-op as full members (unless varied in exceptional circumstances by agreement of the co-op), is required to communicate any relevant issues (repair requirements etc) as set out in their subtenancy agreement, and is encouraged to take part in social and organising gatherings of the co-op.
  3. Whilst a subtenant might choose to apply to become a full co-op member, the fact of their subtenancy does not confer any priority for membership to them compared to other potential new members. Should the full member leave the co-op during the sublet period, the co-op will consider an application for a subtenant to become a full member alongside any other potential members or new membership applications, in accordance with its membership criteria.

2. Subletting for leasehold properties

  1. Subletting is permitted with the co-op’s permission and agreement on the subtenant. The normal limit is six months but the member can apply for a longer sublet period in special circumstances, to be agreed by the co-op.
  2. The subtenant pays rent/service charges at the same rate as other members of the co-op (adjusted for size of property) or at the rate of the leaseholder’s monthly mortgage payment, whichever is higher.
  3. The leaseholder is entitled to receive payment equal to no more than the monthly mortgage repayment relating to the property. The remainder of the rent/service charge, if any, is remitted to the co-op. The most appropriate way of making these payments will be agreed between the subtenant, leaseholder and the co-op.
  4. Since the leaseholder has increased the value of their asset during the sublet by paying back mortgage capital, they are required to offset this with a contribution to the co-op when they/their estate sell the leasehold. The amount of this levy will be a proportion of the increase in value of the property over the lifetime of ownership, based on the length of time the sublet represents in the total ownership period. For example if the value has increased by £30k in a five year period, and the sublet period was six months, the levy would be £3k, one-tenth of the total asset increase.
  5. Any costs for damage or wear and tear will be dealt with directly between the leaseholder and the subtenant.
  6. Whilst a subtenant might choose to apply to become a full co-op member, the fact of their subtenancy does not confer any priority for membership to them compared to other potential new members.

Radical Routes

  • The co-operative will reimburse its members (and prospective members) their travel expenses to and from each RR gathering. Where possible this travel should be the cheapest form possible.
  • The co-operative will reimburse its members (and prospective members) who go to RR gatherings for up to one night’s bed & breakfast. 
  • All members going to a gathering are expected to organise their own travel and Bed & Breakfast as early as possible.
  • We see our participation within Radical Routes as a collective responsibility and all members should try to contribute towards both attending gatherings and fulfilling our co-ops work commitment. Because of this we will try (1) to rotate who goes to gatherings and (2) take on Radical Routes work commitments that can involve as many (if not all) members as possible.

Members’ Savings and Income

We do not restrict membership of our housing co-operative according to a member/prospective member’s level of income or savings. We feel it is important to have members who can work collectively and trust each other and do not require members to declare their income or savings. However we would encourage members with considerable savings or higher earnings to use them in line with the co-op’s aims and values, or consider how to support members in financial need.

Use of future surplus

We do not currently have policy about this: when MAJ has successfully housed all its members, and is in a more secure financial position, we hope to develop policy regarding investment of surplus in other co-ops or appropriate organisations

 Anti-Discrimination Policy

 Mary Ann Johnson Co-op seeks to make its properties safe for everyone, and will not tolerate discrimination, harassment or the incitement of hatred based on difference. In the final instance, any tenant or member not meeting this criterion will be asked to leave both the Co-op and any Co-op property they are living in.

Disability Access

We are committed to equal access to our Co-op.

We will show no discrimination on the grounds of disability when advertising for vacant spaces in the co-op.

Wherever possible, MAJ will adapt the properties to include the different needs of members. This may include re-decorating or making access possible for wheelchair users where practical.

We will also ensure communication such as minutes is issued in accessible formats where necessary.

Political and social change activity

We realise that political and social change are not always easy to bring about and at different, or the same, times different activities may help to achieve these goals. We therefore would not put restraints on what activities we see as bringing about these much needed changes. It is for individuals to think about this for themselves, and for those wishing to bring about such changes to discuss, chat, argue, debate, co-operate and hopefully put into action, events that could bring about positive change for both ourselves and other oppressed individuals and communities. It would be naive to think all members of our co-op would do these at all times throughout their time with us. All we can ask is that members, and prospective members, think about it and where they can try and engage is whatever activities they can to bring this about.