Buying and Renting
Living at Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood
A strong shared vision and clear group agreements are key elements to achieving social cohesion at Earthsong, and continue to provide the foundation of our ongoing community life.
Our Shared Vision
To establish and maintain a co-housing neighbourhood, based on the principles of permaculture, that will serve as a model of a socially and environmentally sustainable community.
Within this vision, the aims are:
- To design, construct and maintain a cohesive neighbourhood whose layout, buildings and services demonstrate the highest practical standards of sustainable human settlement.
- To develop and foster a living environment which uses clear guidelines for communication, decision making and conflict resolution which promote tolerance, safety, respect and co-operation.
- To assist in education and public awareness of sustainability by demonstrating and promoting innovative community design and environmentally responsible construction.
Before Buying or Renting
Because it is a requirement at Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood that all adult residents are members of Earthsong it is important for potential residents to understand what this membership involves.
What is "Earthsong membership"?
All adults (18 and older) who are resident at Earthsong for three months or more (unless they are students living with their parents) must become members of "Earthsong" - which is an unincorporated group. Members have certain rights and responsibilities and these are outlined in the Membership Agreement.
What is the Earthsong Body Corporate?
The Earthsong Body Corporate is a legal entity that exists to allow the 32 owners to manage and pay for shared property in a Unit Titles situation.
A body corporate has very clear rules, for example regarding alterations, construction, use of certain materials, and landscaping etc. on your private property. Every owner is required to consult the Body Corporate before making changes to their private property.
The Earthsong Body Corporate and Membership is tightly connected. Almost all legal duties of a Body Corporate are fulfilled cooperatively, and almost all tasks are covered by our Focus Groups and decided in Full Group meetings by the members.
Before you sign a Sales and Purchase Agreement or a Residential Tenancy Agreement
Because it is important to the cohesion of our community, you you are encouraged to:
- meet with the Membership Group Co-ordinator to find out that you fully understand the rights and responsiblities related to living at Earthsong.
- find out if you are willing to commit to the Membership Agreement (version 4 May 2016)
- make sure that you understand the Body Corporate Rules (version 15 October 2016)
Here is a summary of the process to become a Member of Earthsong
All adults (18 and older) who are resident at Earthsong for three months or more (unless they are students living with their parents) must become members within that period. Members have certain rights and responsibilities and these are outlined in the Membership Agreement.
Before you purchase or rent a property at Earthsong, it is desirable for you to have already taken some steps towards obtaining Membership. This will assist you to decide whether you will enjoy actively participating in day-to-day tasks required to help Earthsong be a living example of a co-housing eco-neighbourhood.
Prerequisites for Membership
The prerequisites for membership are:
1. Reading “Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities”, 2011, by Charles Durrett and Kathryn McCamant OR attending a “From Wow to How” course about co-housing. To make a booking go to www.robinallison.co.nz
2. Attending a Public Tour, or a privately arranged tour through the Education Collective (which includes payment of a fee to the Collective).
3. Notifying the Membership Group of your interest in living here. You will then be assigned a Host who will invite you to Earthsong events. Your Host will also explain what is involved in actively participating in day-to-day tasks required to run a co-housing eco-neighbourhood, including:
i. Belonging to focus groups
ii. Attending full group meetings and observing our decision making process
iii. Keeping informed via the Full Group email list
iv. Participating in working bees, cooking teams and guardianship roles
v. Using Earthsong facilities responsibly
vi. Paying Earthsong related charges promptly
vii. Accepting past Earthsong decisions (there are processes to reopen these)
viii. Honouring Communication and other past Agreements
ix. Willingness to commit to a dispute resolution process, if a dispute arises.
4. Attending two Full Group Meetings (these occur monthly)
5. Purchasing a Unit or signing a Rental Agreement on an Earthsong unit.
6. Paying the membership fee ($100.00).
7. Signing the Membership Agreement.
Group Decision Making Process
Once you are a Member, you are entitled to participate in making decisions about the way we live as a community. Decision-making is by consensus and coloured cards are used to facilitate expression of varying view-points. Our decision making processes are designed to give every member a voice. Becoming a member of Earthsong involves agreeing to accept past decisions. (There are defined processes for reopening these.)
Communication and Other Agreements
Earthsong has an established set of Communication Agreements designed to enhance harmony in the community.
Agreements have also been made on a range of other aspects of living together as a community.
It is important for prospective members to familiarise themselves with these Agreements as far as possible before making a decision to live here.
Earthsong Official Entities
Earthsong has a number of official entities that handle various aspects of our internal system and manage our relationships with the outside world.
Earthsong Body Corporate
Ownership of units within Earthsong is by Unit Title. Owners have individual unit title to their house and private yard, and shared ownership of the common house, common land and other shared facilities. All unit proprietors belong to the Earthsong Body Corporate, and pay annual Body Corporate levies to cover agreed common expenses.
Earthsong Centre Trust
Earthsong has ongoing educational objectives which are managed by the Earthsong Centre Trust (insert hyperlink), a charitable trust established in 2004, with trustees drawn from both unit owners of Earthsong and the wider community. The trust is co-owner of the common house with Earthsong unit owners.