University of Sussex Students Union, Falmer House, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QF
hello(at)seasalthousingcooperative.com

Get Involved/Live at SEASALT

Living at SEASALT

Living with us FAQ

When will rooms be advertised?

Available rooms will be advertised on our social media, students union websites and our website. They will be advertised from October - the end of February every academic year. 

How do I apply?

To apply, you need to fill out the application form and send it to us via email or our social media (see our 'how to 'guide for tips on writing a strong application). Successful applicants from this stage will then be invited to round 2, an interview which may also involve some interview activities. Successful applicants from this round will be notified no later then the end of March. Successful applicants will then need to read and sign the tenancy and house rules!  

Help and advice for applicants

Please see our 'Information for Applicants' document. We endeavor to make our house and our application process as accessible as possible. If you need any additional support or want to highlight where we can improve, please send us a message. For help and support writing applications and interviews, see our 'how to' section below.

Why should I live at SEASALT?

Living at SEASALT means that you are contributing to housing justice, shared/public/community ownership and the co-operative economy. SEASALT has many benefits over the private rented sector (landlords and letting agents) such as:

  • Affordable rent
  • Flexible, long-term contracts - democratic
  • Quality, modern housing
  • Community and diversity
  • Environment and sustainability.
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Is SEASALT right for me?

Ask yourself: are you interested in community living, housing co-ops or housing justice? Are you someone that has struggled renting in the private sector or wants to live a more accessible sustainable lifestyle? If so, then SEASALT is perfect for you! It's as simple as that. Our diversity is also one of our biggest strengths and SEASALT gives everyone the space to live learn, grow (not live laugh love haha) in a safe welcoming environment. 

what responsibilities and skills can I learn?

Living in a housing co-op gives you lots of opportunities to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities. See our skills section for more information on this. Every member will also be expected to contribute to the co-op and take on a role. 

Accessibility

We aim that our house will have step free access from pavement to ground floor and from ground floor to the garden. We will also ensure that all of our events and media are as accessible as possible for example by running alcohol free events or using accessible venues. Because our tenants are in control of the house, it should be easier to make any additional accessibility improvements as necessary. 

Equality, diversity, inclusion and welfare

Everyone is welcome at SESALT. Equality, diversity, inclusion and welfare are fundamental principles of the co-operative movement and we endeavor to champion these through whatever we do. We will have robust equality, conflict and welfare policies to minimise issues and resolve them in a fair and professional manner. Most households don't have such extensive plans. Help and support will be provided to all members and confidential talks are available with our dedicated welfare officer. 

Living a sustainable lifestyle

Living in a housing co-op empowers tenants to make sustainable lifestyle choices. What's more, our house will be retrofitted to high standards, with insulation, triple glazing and more helping reduce energy loss and our bills! We endeavor to use as many recycled and locally made materials as possible, preferably using local co-ops and organisations, to promote a truly sustainable, circular economy that works for people and planet. 

The timeline and application process for prospective tenants/members

Overview of the application process

Rooms will be advertised from October onwards each academic year. You can submit an application for available rooms any time after this!

February for applications with interviews and interview activities taking place in March. Final decisions will be made by the end of March and all applicants will be notified, with feedback if possible, at each stage. 

Open the online application form or ask us for a downloadable version and complete both parts. You will need to send this too us by email or our via our social media channels. Please feel free to use our ‘how to’ guide to help you write a strong application 🙂 If you are successful, this stage will be followed by an interview and/or some interview activities and that’s it. Good luck and hopefully it’s not too scary!

Timeline of events

October
Advertisement of available rooms starts

Look out for our advertisements at the students unions, on their 'career hub' pages, on our social media and of course here, on our website. Please don't hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions or can't find the right information.

October - February
Write and send us your applications!

Open the online application form or ask us to download one and write your application. See our 'how to' guide for some advice on how to write a strong application. An interest in co-ops, housing justice or community living would be a great start!

End of Febuary
Deadline for applications

This is the deadline for applications. We'll start considering candidates after this so unfortunately, if you are late, we might miss you.

March
Interviews and/or interview activities

Once you have been invited for an interview we'll be in contact to let you know how and when this will happen. To prepare, think about your passions for co-ops and a fairer economy or housing justice as well as a bit about yourself in general. Remember though, most of all just relax and be yourself, we're not scary (we hope) and we're certainly not your university professor who you're trying to scrape that grade from! We expect most applicants will be strong and we are focused on your content and what brings you to SEASALT and fairer housing. That's all that matters really, nothing else will be taken into account at interview. 

End of March
Final decisions and acceptance confirmation!

Once you've had an interview, we'll let you know by the end of march as to whether you've ben accepted! Successful applicants will then need to sign the tenancy agreement and red the moving in rules and then you can start planning to live at SEASALT. Woooo! If your application was unsuccessful don't worry, it is unlikely that your application was not up to standard but we probably have lot of interest and so allocations will be very difficult to decide. Of course prioirty will also be given to those SEASALT considers 'of housing need' which is explained in the section below. 

How to write a strong application + the application process in detail

Overview

The application process consists of an application form with 2 parts, an interview and/or interview activities followed by signing the tenancy and house rules.  Please remember that we would love to offer spaces to everyone that is interested in co-ops and creating a fairer more sustainable world but unfortunately we have limited spaces (only 7 bedrooms atm) and so this interview process is designed to help us select new members from those that share our values and aims. 

Part 1 – The application form

Section 1 of the application form is some personal information about you. This will include things like your name and some information about diversity. This section will only be used as a reference and to allow us to identify applicants of ‘housing need’, whose applications we give priority. It also allows SEASALT to understand who you are but it will not be used to judge your application.

As such, section 2 is more important and asks you why you would like to join/live at SEASALT and what interests you about us, our project and our way of living.  This section is really giving us a picture of what motivates you about co-ops, community living, sustainable lifestyles and a fairer more democratic society. We want to know, what people would gain from living at SEASALT, what they would learn and how it would benefit them to live with us. There are no right or wrong answers here but it would be useful to read and research the above if you are unsure as to where to start!

Writing a good application

As we have discussed there are no right or wrong answers when you write an application, provided you are passionate or interested in the topics mentioned above. As a starting point therefore, it would be good to research or revise the following areas:

  • Co-ops
  • Housing Justice
  • Community living 
  • UK housing market
  • Fairer, democratic economics
  • To some extent: Politics, human rights, environment and sustainability

Try and get across these things:

  • Your passion, interest and/or knowledge of these subjects
  • Any relevant work, campaign or volunteering experience you might have (we find it really interesting to hear about people’s activism!) 
  • Your lived experience of these areas – what is your experience of private renting? Did you grow up in a low income area that was hugely affected by politics?
  • Why would SEASALT benefit you and what stands out about us? 
  • What skills you already have and what you would like to learn or improve upon. 

Please note: no experience or prior knowledge is necessary to make a strong application, your passion enthusiasm and commitment to improving your understanding is what really counts! Letting us know what interests you and what you would like to take part in are good things to get across to us. 

Write in your own style and what feels the most authentic and informative way to you. We won’t be judging applications on their formatting, spelling, grammar or other similar areas. Just the content.

Resources for writing an application:

If you have any further questions about this section then please get in contact with us.

Part2 – The interview

The interview will be conducted by current members of SEASALT Housing co-op and would usually take place at the co-op or a neutral venue. However, as with the current circumstances (at the time of writing) in 2021, interviews may take place online via Zoom, Teams, Jitsi or similar. This will be communicated to all applicants so don’t worry and if you have any accessibility issues relating to this then please drop us a message and let us know.

You are likely to be asked questions similar to those asked in section 2 of the application form:

  • Co-ops
  • Housing Justice
  • Community living 
  • UK housing market
  • Fairer, democratic economics
  • To some extent: Politics, human rights, environment and sustainability

Re-read the information in the above paragraph about section 1, part2 for some advice on what kind of topics to research and information/passions to get across. Remember, the interview stage only exists to allow us to make a difficult choice out of the remaining candidates – we have limited spaces and unfortunately we can’t offer a room to everyone who loves co-ops, as much as we’d like to. We are likely to have a lot of strong candidates and hopefully this information will help put you at ease before the interview. 

Tips for the interview

Successful applicants –  induction + signing the tenancy agreement and house rules

If you’ve made it this far then congratulations! You’ve not got long to go now (whoop!). The final steps are to read the tenancy agreement, the community charter and all of the rules/policies. You need to then sign the tenancy and community charter and send them to us (if you agree with them of course) –  NB: the tenancy agreement contains a clause asking you to confirm that you have read and agree with all of the rules/policies which is why you do not need to sign them each individually/separately. 

What happens next? – Confirmation and induction process

Confirmation: Once you have sent us your signed tenancy agreement, that’s it you’re officially a prospective member and tenant of SEASALT Housing co-operative! Rest assured we can’t wait to meet you, get to know you and welcome you in to our house to come live with us next year (or whenever you move in!). You will now be sent an email or letter to confirm, in writing, that you have been accepted as a prospective tenant/member.

Induction process: After confirmation, you will be sent your induction materials. This will include: 

  • A copy of the tenancy and the members/tenants handbook (which will include all of the rules and additional information for all of our tenants/members) .
  • Information about our buddy scheme and the option to have a buddy/mentor for 6 weeks+ when you move in.
  • Information about and contact details of our welfare officer, our equality, diversity and inclusion policies and a personalised welfare plan. The welfare plan is optional and you can include as much or as little information as you like. It will only be viewed by the welfare officer and can be edited at any time – even after you move in. 
  • Information about our member roles, which roles you might be able to take and confirmation of what responsibilities will be expected of you when you move in. Don’t worry, roles are just a contribution to the house and the co-operative or community spirit. We don’t except anyone to treat them like a full time job (unless they want too) and there might be a slight variance in the workload between roles simply because of each roles nature and any unforeseen circumstances.  

I wasn’t successful what can I do?

If you weren’t successful don’t worry, we will hopefully be able to provide you with some feedback on your application and add you to our waiting list for the next available vacancy that we have. Rest assured we would love to provide accommodation to everyone that needs it but we have limited spaces. You’re always welcome to stay in contact, meet our members and support our campaigns!

Volunteering for SEASALT

Currently, the main way to get involved with SEASALT is to join the working group whose aim is to set up SEASALT Housing Co-operative. We meet every 2 weeks to discuss project updates and assign tasks depending on members’ capacity. We have additional meetings every 2 weeks with our partner organisation – BHCLT.

SEASALT is inviting new student members for the 2020-21 academic year to join the working group.

We hope to encourage students who would like to live in the co-op to join our working group and help us set up SEASALT. We anticipate that demand for rooms in our house will be high, so we will probably select members based on the length of their volunteering with SEASALT in case there is not enough space. 

Information and documents for potential members

Why should I get involved in SEASALT?

Read what some of our members and supporters have to say.

"I was drawn to the co-op movement after my experience working for a housing law clinic.

I've seen first hand the state that people are being left in. Joining SEASALT was a natural progression for me to improve housing access and justice within the Brighton and Hove area." - Matt Baldwin, Committee member

Matt Baldwin - Committee Member

"The Government and universities have really shafted students in the past year, especially in terms of rent rebates.

Half of young people's disposable incomes often go on houses that are unsuitable and unsafe. It made me think: is there a way I can live that's fairer, more sustainable and more affordable?" - Tom Green, Committee member

Tom Green - Committee Member

"Hearing more about SEASALT is so inspiring. They are leading the way tackling a really huge problem of exorbitant rents, unresponsive landlords and poor quality student housing at the source.

I am really proud that the first student led housing cooperative in the South East will be in Brighton. I hope its profile will increase so more students take the initiative to set up housing co-operatives" around the country. - Caroline Lucas, MP, Brighton Pavillion

Caroline Lucas - MP, Brighton Pavillion

"It is no secret that we face a housing crisis, both across our city and our country, and that young people face the sharp end of it. A young people's housing cooperative is a fantastic initiative that will help ensure we are not pricing young people out of Brighton. The cooperative's values are in line with Council objectives and this innovative, affordable housing initiative, which will be owned by the community, is exactly the sort of thing we should be encouraging across our city." - LLoyd Russell Moyle, MP, Brighton Kemptown

LLoyd Russell Moyle - MP, Brighton Kemptown

"On a personal note, it was really inspiring hearing about your goals and what you’ve already done. It really does reinvigorate my hope levels for Our Planet seeing people acting as you are – great job!" - Sebastian Howarth, Business development executive @ Compare your Footprint

Sebastian Howarth - Business development executive @ Compare your Footprint

"There are thousands of individuals and families trapped in unsustainable housing situations because of the disastrous disconnect between wages and average rents in the city." - Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust in the Financial Times

Brighton and Hove Community Land Trust

What can I get involved in?

Forming partnerships

Form partnerships with other coops and organisations both locally and nationally to fulfill our aims and support common goals and values i.e rent strikes, sustainability research  etc

Community engagement

Build support for coops and our housing coop by engaging with the local community, writing and interviewing for local media, talking to students and demonstrating the benefits of the coop model.  

Campaigns and Awareness

Take part in local and national coop and housing justice campaigns (plus any others that our members support). Raise awareness of student led housing co-operatives via our website, social media, zine-making, writing articles and speaking at events. 

Policy Development

We need to draft our policy documents such as our diversity and inclusion policy, negotiate a lease and democratically make the rules that SEASALT tenants will abide by. There are opportunities for anyone to get to grips with the process of buying a house and its documentation. 

Finance and Accounting

In 2020, we completed our share offer raising over £335,000 from more than 100 investors. The work doesn't stop here though, we still need a treasurer as well as people to help us budget future projects and things like digital marketing or the design of our dream house.

Meetings and Decision Making

We have bi weekly meetings at SEASALT and with BHCLT (alternating). Each week we have people volunteer to chair meetings, take meeting minutes and write up action points. We need to make decisions, relay and communicate information and implement + agree on policy with BHCLT.  

Support & Training

Project Manager

Full support from the SEASALT Project Manager (funded through Homes England Community Led Homes programme)

Specialised Training

The opportunity to attend specialised training sessions to develop skills and knowledge

Co-operative Network

Wider support from the Co-operative network including Students for Co-operation, Student Co-op Homes, Co-ops UK, Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT), Mutual Aid in Sussex (MAIS) and local housing co-operatives.

CV

Great experience for your CV and the provision of a reference and a certificate of completed volunteer hours

Socials

Regular volunteer socials

The First

A unique transformative opportunity to set up the first student housing co-operative in the South East.

Skills Gained