The Cooperative Housing International rules state how the different Cooperative Housing International constituent bodies interact, the powers they have and the rules that exist to govern them. They were amended at the 2022 Plenary meeting in Sevilla, Spain.
Cooperative Housing International (CHI)
A Sectoral Organisation of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)
Constitution and Objects
Article 1 – Constitution
1.01 Cooperative Housing International (“CHI ”), the apex body of the international cooperative housing movement, is hereby constituted as a Sectoral Organisation of the International Cooperative ICA (“the ICA”), in accordance with the Rules and Bylaws of the ICA.
Article 2 – Objects
2.01 CHI has as its purpose the furtherance of sustainable human development through the promotion of cooperative and mutual self-help solutions to the affordable housing problem worldwide.
2.02 In fulfilment of this purpose, CHI will
- encourage the exchange of information and expertise among the Members and Associate Members of CHI around the world;
- promote the sharing of best practices among cooperative and mutual self-help housing organisations having various structures in countries in various stages of development;
- encourage its members to undertake and to cooperate with each other in carrying out programmes of technical assistance to cooperative and mutual self-help housing movements in developing countries;
- seek opportunities in concert with the ICA Central Office or appropriate regional office to collaborate with appropriate agencies of the United Nations and other multilateral and international non-governmental organisations concerned with the problems of affordable housing and sustainable development;
- support national cooperative housing movements in their efforts to form regional (i.e., supranational) bodies with other national movements and to undertake regional programming;
- promote education and training in the development and management of cooperative housing and other forms of housing based on the principles of mutual self-help;
- collect and disseminate information on the activities of national movements and the potential for development of cooperative and mutual self-help housing in different countries;
- arrange from time to time opportunities for the exchange of views between CHI and governmental authorities and other bodies outside the cooperative housing movement having an interest in cooperative and mutual self-help housing;
- undertake such other activities as are consistent with these objects.
Article 3 – Membership Classes
3.01 Cooperative housing organisations are organisations that have as a primary purpose the ownership, development or operation of cooperative housing or that are associations of, or recognised representative bodies for, such organisations.
3.02 Full members of CHI are cooperative housing organisations that are:
(a) Full members of the ICA, as defined in Article 6.1 (I – VI) of the ICA’s Articles of Association, that have chosen to participate in CHI;
(b) Members of full members of the ICA that have been confirmed as eligible by the full member to participate in CHI;
(c) Associate members of the ICA as defined in Article 6.2 (I) of the ICA’s Articles of Association, that have chosen to participate in CHI;
- Members of associate members of the ICA as referenced in Article 3.02 (c) above that have been confirmed as eligible by the associate member to participate in CHI.
3.03 Associate members of CHI are cooperative housing organisations that meet the standards for associate membership in the ICA as set out in Article 6.2 (II) of the ICA’s Articles of Association
Article 4 – Admission of New Members and Associates
4.01 Eligible organisations interested in participating in CHI shall communicate this intention by writing to CHI indicating the category of membership as defined in Article 3 above.
4.02 The decision of admission is made by the CHI Executive Committee and communicated to the applicant and the ICA Director of Membership in writing.
4.03 New members will become members of CHI with the rights and duties of membership from the date of the communication referred in Article 4.02 above.
Article 5 – Suspension of Voting Rights
5.01 Members’ voting rights will be suspended if the member does not fully discharge financial obligations to the ICA set out in the terms and conditions of the ICA Articles of Association and Bylaws.
Article 6 – Termination and Withdrawal from Membership
6.01 Membership of CHI ceases in the following cases:
- The member ceases to be a member of the ICA or loses any other condition of eligibility as set out in Article 3 above;
- The member decides to withdraw its membership under the terms and conditions of Article 6.0 below; or
- The member is expelled under the provisions of Article 6.03 below.
6.02 A member of the CHI that decides to withdraw from membership should communicate its decision by writing to CHI Executive Committee and or the Secretary-General with a copy to the ICA central office. Cessation of membership is immediate on the date of such communication.
6.03 The CHI Executive Committee shall evaluate the conformity of the requirements of membership according to the Rules of CHI and may request the ICA Board to expel a member on the grounds of non-compliance to the present Rules or the ICA Rules and By-Laws of ICA.
Article 7 – Authorities
7.01 The permanent authorities of CHI comprise: the Plenary, the Board, the Executive Committee and the Election Committee.
Article 8 – Plenary
8.01 The Plenary will comprise all Members of CHI.
8.02 Each Member under Articles 3.01 and 3.02 above is entitled to appoint one (1) voting representative to the Plenary. Each Member who has voting rights can attend the meeting by proxy. Proxy can be given in writing or by e-mail to CHI no later than 14 days prior to the meeting. Associates under Article 3.03 are not entitled to voting representatives.
8.03 Unless the Board decides otherwise, all Members and Associates may send additional, non-voting delegates to Plenary meetings.
Article 9 – Board of Directors
9.01 The Board of CHI will consist of a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer and twelve (12) other board members. Except as provided for under Article 9.03 (b) below, all board positions are directly elected at duly constituted Plenary meetings from among the voting representatives appointed by the Members.
9.02 Directors will normally serve for four (4) years, beginning at the close of the Plenary meeting at which they are elected and ending at the close of the Plenary meeting four (4) years later. Every effort will be made to preserve the continuity of the Board through a balanced rotation of director term expirations. In order to ensure that no more than seven (7) of the directors’ terms expire at each Plenary, the Board may determine from time to time that one or more directors will be elected for two (2) year terms. The terms for the President, Vice President and Treasurer will always be Four (4) year terms except as provided for under Article 10.05 below. Directors can be re-elected three (3) times, with a maximum of 12 years in a row. After a stay, the representative can be elected again as director.
9.03 (a) If a director resigns before the end of their term, an election will be held at the next Plenary meeting to fill the resulting vacancy. The director then elected will serve for the balance of the vacating board member’s term.
(b) If the vacancy arises between Plenary meetings, the Executive Committee may appoint a director to fill the vacancy. The person so appointed will serve until the next meeting of the Plenary, at which time an election will be held to fill the position for the balance of the original term.
9.04 If a Member gives notice in writing that a director is no longer its representative to CHI, that director will be deemed to have resigned from the Board.
9.05 A director who is absent without leave from three (3) consecutive meetings will be deemed to have resigned from the Board.
9.06 If a director of the Board is unable to attend a meeting of the Board, a substitute from the same organisation may attend in their place but will not have the right to vote.
Article 10 – Executive Committee
10.01 The President, Vice President and Treasurer will serve as the Executive Committee of CHI. The Executive Committee shall be elected at a board of directors meeting following the Plenary.
10.02 The Executive Committee is charged with calling and preparing meetings of the Board and Plenary, recommending an annual budget and work programme for CHI, and ensuring that the work programme is carried out.
10.03 The Executive Committee may meet in person or by virtual conference call. A resolution in writing and signed by all members of the Committee is as valid as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Committee and will be effective on the date stated in the resolution. A resolution proposed in an email to all members of the Committee that is confirmed by email as received and agreed to by all members of the Committee, is as valid as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Committee and will be effective on the date of the last email agreeing to the resolution.
10.04 Any of the President, Vice President or Treasurer may authorize expenditures, signing of documents and contracts on behalf of CHI.
10.05 If a member of the Executive Committee resigns before the end of their term, an election will be held at the next Plenary meeting to fill the resulting vacancy. The member then elected will serve for the balance of the vacating member’s term. If the vacancy arises between Plenary meetings, the Board will appoint one of its members to fill the vacancy on the Committee. The person so appointed will serve until the next meeting of the Plenary, at which time an election will be held to fill the position for the balance of the original term.
Article 11 – Election Committee
11.01 From time to time the Board will appoint three (3) representatives to CHI from within or outside the Board to serve as an Election Committee. Representatives who are standing for re-election may not serve on the Committee.
11.02 The Election Committee is charged with issuing a call for nominations, recruiting candidates for election to the Board and ensuring that elections are conducted in accordance with these Rules.
11.03 Before each election the Election Committee will provide the Plenary with a list of nominated candidates. In recruiting candidates the Committee will have due regard for the need to have both an efficiently functioning Board and a mix of members from the major geographic regions in the world, members representing the different movement structures and stages of development found among the members of CHI, and representing gender diversity.
11.04 Where the number of candidates nominated exceeds the number of positions to be filled, an election will be held by secret ballot.
Article 12 – Secretariat
12.01 From time to time the CHI President, in consultation with the CHI Board, will decide upon the location of the Secretariat of CHI. Secretariat staff will liaise with the ICA Central and Regional Offices and collaborate with the ICA in the recruitment of Members and Associates; maintain the CHI website and database; answer enquiries from Members, Associates, other bodies of the ICA and the general public; assist the Executive Committee with its duties; plan, organise and record minutes of meetings of the authorities of CHI and support the delivery of CHI’s annual work programme.
12.02 The CHI Board can engage a Secretary General. The CHI President signs the appointment of the Secretary General on behalf of and following the decision of the CHI Board. The Secretary General will take part in meetings of the CHI Board, Executive Committee, Plenary and Election Committee.
Article 13 – Meetings of the CHI Authorities
13.01 A Plenary meeting will be convened every two years, in conjunction with meetings of the General Assembly of the ICA or at such other time and place as the Board may determine. Plenary sessions may not be held concurrently with sessions of the General Assembly of ICA. 13.02 Meetings of each of the Board and the Executive Committee will be convened as circumstances warrant but not less than twice each year. Whenever convenient, board meetings and other events of CHI, such as seminars, workshops and conferences, will be held in conjunction with other meetings of ICA, regional or global assemblies of ICA. 13.03 Notice of Plenary meetings will be sent to each Member and Associate at least three (3) months before the date of the meeting and the agenda at least one (1) month before the date of the meeting. 13.04 Minutes will be recorded of all meetings of the Plenary and Board and will be confirmed at the next meeting of the same body. 13.05 All votes at meetings of the authorities of CHI, except a decision to amend these Rules or to recommend dissolution of the organisation will be decided by a simple majority of votes cast. The chairperson presiding at the meeting will have a casting vote. 13.06 Except where the ICA Board has granted special payment conditions under the ICA’s rules, a representative to the Plenary meeting may not vote if the organisation they represent is not up to date in the payment of its annual subscription to the ICA.
Article 14 – Liaison between the ICA and CHI Cooperatives
14.01 CHI will report regularly on its activities to the ICA Board. 14.02 The ICA is entitled to send a delegate to all meetings of the Plenary and the Board of CHI. 14.03 CHI will participate in the election of the representatives from the Sectoral Organisations of the ICA to the ICA Board. The President or, in his/her absence, the Vice President will hold the vote of CHI for this purpose.
14.04 CHI will participate in drawing up and modifying from time to time the ICA global Strategic Plan and multi-annual work programme.
14.05 CHI’s own strategic plan and annual work programmes will be developed within and will support the goals of the ICA as set out in its Strategic Plan.
14.06 CHI will submit its annual work programme and budget to the ICA for approval and integration within the ICA’s global work programme and budget.
Article 15 –Budget
15.01 The Board will adopt a budget for CHI each calendar year, for the approval of the ICA, showing the expected allocation to CHI of ICA subscriptions, revenues and in-kind contributions from any other source and planned expenditures, whether cash or in-kind.
Article 16 – Financial Reports
16.01 The Treasurer will present a statement of CHI’s revenues and expenditures to each meeting of the Board, Plenary and Executive Committee.
Amendments and Dissolution
Article 17 – Amendments
17.01 These Rules may be amended by a motion passed by two-thirds (2/3) of votes cast at a duly constituted Plenary meeting. 17.02 The Board may propose amendments to these Rules to the Plenary for consideration. 17.03 A Member wishing to propose amendments to the Rules must submit a proposal to the Secretariat at least five (5) months before the Plenary meeting at which it is to be considered. 17.04 Any proposal from the Board or from a Member to amend these Rules such motions, together with any recommendation of the Board thereon, will be sent to all Members with the meeting agenda in advance of the Plenary meeting. 17.05 The amended Rules will be submitted for approval to the ICA Board, as required by the ICA’s Rules after which they will take effect. 17.06 If the amended Rules are not confirmed by the ICA Board, with or without variation, the amended Rules will be deemed to be repealed as of the date of the meeting of the ICA Board at which they were not confirmed.
Article 18 – Dissolution
18.01 CHI may be dissolved by vote of the General Assembly of the ICA on the recommendation of the ICA Board. Any recommendation of the Board of CHI that CHI be dissolved will first be sent to all Members of CHI. To proceed to the ICA Board the decision to recommend dissolution will require a majority of at least two-thirds (2/3) of votes cast at a duly constituted meeting of the Plenary. 18.02 Any meeting approving the recommendation to dissolve CHI will also determine how any debts of the organisation will be paid. In the event of any surplus remaining after dissolution and retirement of all debts, the surplus will, together with the organisation’s files, be placed at the disposal of the ICA.