Founded in 1980, Phoenix provides a local, volunteer-led solution to the problem of homelessness in East London.
In the beginning Phoenix licensed all its properties from Local Authorities and Housing Associations, providing short-term, shared and affordable accommodation in properties that would have otherwise remained empty. The co-operative expanded in 1992 when it merged with the HCH1 housing co- operative. In 1993 the co-operative purchased 10 properties from the London Borough of Hackney and developed them to provide longer-term housing for Phoenix members.
As of June 2014, Phoenix manages over 100 short-life properties and sixteen permanent properties across two London Boroughs. If you have any questions please contact the Phoenix office.
How Phoenix works
Phoenix is a fully-mutual housing co-operative which depends upon the active participation of all members. Internal structure Members can participate and contribute in many different ways, including being part of our three main Committees:
- Management Committee
Elected once a year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM), it is responsible for the governance of the co-operative. It reports to the entire membership at Ordinary General Meetings (OGMs).
- Development Committee
This is an open Committee in which the development direction of the co-operative is discussed and new ideas implemented. It reports to the Management Committee on a regular basis and to the entire membership at General Meetings.
- Allocations Committee
This Committee looks into how to best allocate our resources and properties.
All Committees meet on a monthly basis, usually in the evening between 7-9pm. Terms of reference are available for all Committees; if you would like more information about how these work, please contact the office. In addition to the committees, Phoenix employs three permanent staff who report to the Management Committee.
Short life housing
Short life housing is the housing model for the majority of properties that Phoenix manages. In this model, a landlord, often a Housing Association or Local Authority, licenses a property to us for a fee on either a fixed term basis or an open period with a notice of termination of one to three months. We then invite new members from our waiting list to view the property and occupy it under a tenancy agreement.
In this agreement Phoenix is responsible for managing the tenancy, including collecting the rent, chasing rent arrears if necessary and carrying out internal maintenance where appropriate; the responsibility for routine maintenance may vary from landlord to landlord and Phoenix offers flexibility on how this is managed.
When the period of tenancy ends, we serve the members-tenants with an Notice to Quit (NTQ), thus ending the tenancy agreement, and make arrangements to give vacant possession to the landlord on the agreed date. We then make every possible effort to re-house the displaced members-tenants. The landlord has no responsibility for re-housing our members.
Why short life?
Properties that have been earmarked for demolition or major refurbishment may spend a long time on stand-by (quite often several years) and we understand these could be let rather than left empty. By placing these properties in short-life tenancies until the works commence, the complexity and difficulty of moving tenants is vastly reduced. The landlord gets a guaranteed rent for the period the property is in stand-by and the properties are lived in, maintained and managed by Phoenix.
Phoenix has over 30 years’ experience in short life property management, with an excellent record of handing back properties on time and in good condition. Phoenix ￼￼has well established and good working arrangements with organisations such as Poplar HARCA, Peabody Trust, Gateway, Sanctuary, Newlon and Bethnal Green and Victoria Park Housing Associations, and over the years we have also ‘short-lifed’ properties from the London Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.
If you would like to learn more about our partners, please visit the ‘work with us’ section.
Phoenix is responsible for the tenancies and therefore, responsible for dealing with any problem that may arise from these, including issues with gaining possession. To ensure that these issues are dealt with swiftly and painlessly for all parties, we operate under unprotected tenancies.
The Phoenix Housing co-operative waiting list is currently closed.
Phoenix is a “fully-mutual” co-operative, which means that everyone living in its properties must be a member and only people living in its properties can be members. Information on applying for membership will appear here when the list re-opens.
Meet the staff
Currently Phoenix employs three permanent staff:
Colin Lock, co-operative Manager
The co-operative Manager reports to the Management Committee and all other working groups and committees. The main role of the co-operative Manager is to guide the co-operative in its aims and objectives and to enforce all of the co-operative’s policies and procedures. This includes Arrears of Rent, Tenancy Management and the Allocation of empty and new properties. The Manager is also responsible for the three other members of staff.
Andy Barnes: Finance Worker
The Finance Worker reports to the co-operative Manager and also to the Management Committee. The main role of the Finance Worker is to ensure that all creditors are paid and that all payments, including rent, are recorded as appropriate. The Finance Worker also assists in the drafting of the annual budget and the annual rent increases. The Finance Worker also liaises with the co-operative’s Auditors regarding the annual audit.
John Cashman: Maintenance Worker
The Maintenance Worker carries out the majority of all the co- operative’s day-to-day and cyclical repairs. This is in accordance with the co-operative’s Repairs Obligations, Policy and Procedures. The Maintenance Worker is Gas Safe registered and is therefore able to carry out works to all central heating systems within the co- operative including the Annual Gas Service where applicable. The Maintenance Worker also carries out work for other co-operatives within the area.