Below are some useful resources and references for to help along the OpenDoor path. Click on an icon to explore the resource.
What. As we define it, coliving is a modern form of community housing designed to support a purpose-driven and shared lifestyle. Residents unite around common interests, values, and intentions to collaboratively manage a space, share resources, and support one another.
Why. The purpose of coliving is to create a home environment for members, guests, and the extended community alike that:
- Builds meaningful connections and lasting relationships
- Serves as a platform for fulfilling creative pursuits and projects, and accelerating personal growth and learning
- Cultivates collaboration, connections, and serendipitous interactions
- Enables more affordable and sustainable living through sharing and efficient use of resources, without compromise in lifestyle
- Inspires people to be active participants in their lives and the world around them
Who. Coliving is for people who want to live with greater intention, mindfulness, and purpose. For people who value authentic human connection, learning, and personal growth, and who want to be part of creating something bigger than themselves. Our members include creative professionals, artists, makers, entrepreneurs, healers, teachers, adventurers, activists, and more - diverse people from all walks of life that share a desire to live with greater purpose, creativity and connection.
What we Value. We are exploring new ways of living and creating home together. Through this process, we have come to value:
- Community alongside individuality
- Intentionality over “business-as-usual”
- Openness and collaboration over competition
- Sharing of resources over consumption
- Diversity of people and perspective over homogeneity
More information on Coliving
Who We Are. We are a social enterprise that exists to support and expand community living through the development and management of coliving homes. As one of the founders of the modern coliving movement, our mission is to enable people to live with more creativity, collaboration and purpose, and we are building a national network of coliving spaces. Additionally, we are a public benefit corporation, meaning our social mission is codified in our core legal structure. We are driven by a vision that’s bigger than just coliving - one that’s about the future of resilient cities, strong social fabric, and sustainable lifestyles.
Why OpenDoor? OpenDoor is an invitation to “live better together” by living in community. We believe in community as a way to live happier, healthier lives; to live in greater alignment with our values; and to live more sustainably. We believe community is our native “habitat” as a species, having evolved in tribes and villages, and that many issues in our modern society stem the feeling of isolation, disconnection, and loneliness.
Our Origin Story. OpenDoor was started in 2013 by Ben Provan and Jay Standish. We met in our social impact-focused MBA program and quickly discovered a shared passion for community. Our capstone project was called the Sandbox House, our first coliving property and testing ground for many of the ideas of OpenDoor. The overwhelming interest and response we received for the project inspired us to launch OpenDoor. Since inception, Ben and Jay have lived in coliving and currently live at Euclid Manor.
What’s Next. We now have 3 properties in the Bay Area, and are opening up 8 more both in the Bay and in Portland over the next 18 months. Since our founding, we have helped popularize coliving as major social movement and emerging real estate product. Yet as we’ve grown, it has become clear that there are major barriers to the expansion of the community-driven housing - from finance to real estate development and city planning code. We are hard at work breaking down these barriers so that community living can grow into a major housing and lifestyle option for people around the world.
Our Approach to Coliving
Overview. Our aim is to facilitate unique, authentic communities in each of our coliving spaces. We partner closely with our members to co-create a healthy house culture and shared sense of identity, purpose, and ownership in each of our spaces. We provide the basic framework and members bring it to life with their passion, vision and ideas. We believe this is fundamental to making authentic communities, as well as encouraging diverse culture and membership in our homes.
OpenDoor’s Role. We have learned a lot over the years about how to curate and manage community living homes, and aim to pass on those learnings to our communities. Our primary goal is to minimize the potential points of friction with shared living, while maximizing its benefit. As property manager, we handle basic items such as leasing, billing, payments, utilities services, and repairs. As community facilitator, we provide a structure and process for members to create their community agreements, systems, and culture. This includes:
- Providing the fundamental legal and financial framework that allows Members to focus more on relationships, culture and community building.
- Setting up the basic financial, accounting, and billing systems to facilitate easy management of money and shared expenses.
- Coaching and supporting communities as they navigate the process of starting and operating the house.
- Providing continuity and stability as members come and go over the years.
- Nurturing the meta-community across houses and supporting self-initiated member projects to add on new aspects, programs and initiatives.
Your Role. As a member of one of our homes, you are part of OpenDoor as well. We are excited to have you on this journey with us! We are a highly collaborative organization and strive to build close relationships with all of our stakeholders. As a learning organization, we are not presenting a polished product but rather a platform on which we can all learn and create together. We invite our members to take a stance of co-creation with us - which includes offering constructive feedback and experimenting with new and better ways of doing things in their communities. We look forward to working together to improve the experience for your house, other houses, and future projects to come!
Coliving with OpenDoor
The Coliving Experience. Living in an OpenDoor home can be an inspiring and enriching experience. For many, it is one of the most impactful periods of their lives: a time of personal growth, of making lasting friendships, and of being part of something bigger than yourself.
- Make Meaningful Connections. Coliving is a great way to meet new people and build lasting relationships. This can include making a new best friend, connecting with a creative or business partner, or meeting a romantic partner - all of which have happened in our homes!
- Be Supported By a Community. Your home will be full of people who support you in being the person you want to be and accomplishing your goals. Whether it be a running or gym buddy, someone to touch base with on your life goals, or just having others around to check-in with when you’re having a tough day.
- Learn, Grow, and Be Inspired. You can expect to learn from others who have different experiences, perspectives, and skills to share. You will also learn a lot about yourself and how to better communicate and relate to others. One of our favorite quotes is “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” (Jim Rohn). We think surrounding yourself with people who encourage and inspire you is a great way to accelerate your own growth and development.
An Invitation. While OpenDoor holds the overall process, we invite members to generate participation and value for themselves in the following ways:
- A Participatory Experience. Living in community has many amazing benefits, but it also takes your participation. Expect to contribute 5+ hours each week to your community in the form of house chores, meetings, cooking/cleaning shifts, creative projects, and new Member interviews & selection.
- You Get Out What You Put In. Many of the deeper benefits of coliving result from rolling up your sleeves and contributing to making your community better. Coliving is a not an experience you consume, but rather one you create with your fellow members. That being said, we all experience busy times and it’s okay to take time for yourself when needed.
- Viewing Challenges as Opportunities for Growth. It would be foolish to expect community is always smooth sailing. We invite you to take a learning stance when dealing with challenges in your home. In our view, this is one of the greatest opportunities for living in community. Community by its nature brings up many juicy opportunities to expand your perspective, increase your empathy, and better understand how you impact others.
OpenDoor’s Coliving Program and Member Services
Coliving Membership. Over the years, we have learned best-practices for living in a shared home. As such, we set up clear community rules, agreements and policies in each of our homes, codified in our community Membership Agreement. Each resident signs a Membership Agreement with OpenDoor that grants access to their private room, common areas and furnishings, and OpenDoor’s member services.
Common Furnishings & Housewares. The common areas in our houses are beautifully furnished with furniture, kitchenwares, and housewares for use by all members. OpenDoor collaborates with founding members of each house to purchase items that are unique to each home.
100% Digital Billing, Payments, and Leasing. We have set up a convenient online billing system to eliminate much of the headache of splitting the costs of living together. We provide a single bill each month that covers the membership fee, utilities, and house fund contributions. Members pay electronically through our online system (Bill.com), with free ACH transfer from their bank account (no checks or credit cards accepted). Additionally, we require everyone select the autopay feature, for both their convenience and ours. We want our collective attention on building an amazing community together, and not on chasing down late payments.
Business-class Internet and Wifi. Each of our houses is set up with high-speed, business-class wireless internet throughout the property.
Utility & Cleaning Services. We manage all utility services on behalf of members, collecting monthly utility payments from members. Utility charges are based on average usage amounts, which will periodically be adjusted to cover actual usage. Utilities include gas, electricity, water / sewage, garbage, high-speed internet, and periodic cleanings.
Shared Chores. Members are responsible for the day-to-day management of their home. This includes basic cleaning of common areas & bathrooms, tidying of the kitchen, and taking out the garbage. OpenDoor provides members with resources & training for a successful shared chore system.
Shared Food Program & Community Dinners. Shared meals are the lifeblood of community, while shared groceries are a major cost saving & convenient opportunity. All of our homes have a shared food program managed by the members. This includes a food fund for collective food purchases and weekly community dinners. Members get to select their monthly budget, purchases, and dinner schedule. OpenDoor manages the monthly payments collections and provides resources & training for a successful food program.
Events & Gatherings. An important and fun part of coliving culture is the hosting of events, gatherings, and community dinners. Houses typically host a myriad of fun and inspiring events, including dinner salons, house concerts, skillshares, meditations and more. Members should expect periodic events in their homes by fellow members, and are encouraged to both host and attend these events. OpenDoor offers support and best practices in event planning and hosting.
Community Workshops. We facilitate community workshops and trainings that help build strong relationships, shared vision, and agreements within our communities. While most of these happen in the startup phase of a coliving house, we do provide periodic workshops to continue to support our communities.
Slack Community Workspace. We set up a Slack workspace for each of our communities. This serves as an online and mobile platform for easy communication and collaboration within the community. Additionally, it serves as a convenient customer service channel for reaching OpenDoor with any property or community issues.
Key OpenDoor Policies & Process
The full details of our community policies and agreements can be found in your Membership Agreement. However, below is a highlight of some of the more important and commonly asked ones.
Repairs & Maintenance. Making maintenance requests is simple. Just go to our Appfolio Portal, and fill out the form. You’ll hear back from us within two business days with a plan of action for the repair. As a general rule of thumb, the person who submits the request is the point person for that repair going forward.
New Member Selection. Members are responsible for selecting new housemates when a room turns over. OpenDoor works with members to share openings via our collective networks, and supports with the overall application and selection process. If the members do not fill the vacancy in a timely manner, OpenDoor reserves the right to find a new Member for the room and will do their best to find a good match.
2 Months’ Notice Policy. We require two full months’ notice prior to moving out, which must be given before the 1st of the month. This is to allow sufficient time to select the new Member. There is a lot involved in finding and selecting a new Member, and the process typically takes up to two months.
Termination by Supermajority. Members are accountable to one another to be great housemates and to nurture a positive, healthy house culture. To empower members to self-regulate their culture and membership, each member agrees to allow a supermajority of other members to vote them out. This is meant to be used only if a member no longer has a positive relationship with their fellow housemates.
Guests. Overnight guests are allowed in only in your private room. For the comfort of the community as a whole, we do not allow overnight guests to sleep in common areas.
Subletting. We generally discourage subletting, as it adds complexity to the community dynamic. However, we do allow it under very specific guidelines, with prior approval by both OpenDoor and fellow members.
OpenDoor vs. House Responsibilities
We empower houses to have strong levels of participation and creative freedom in many aspects of the community, including selecting new members, defining the house culture, and designing internal house systems & agreements. As such, some responsibilities live with OpenDoor, some directly with members, and some are shared between both. We’ve found it useful to clarify these upfront:
- OpenDoor: repairs, alterations to property, billing & payments, coaching & support with any community or interpersonal issues
- House: chores, food sourcing & cooking, community rules & agreement, house decision-making, usage of common space, and events
- Both: subletting, room turnover / new members, food and house fund payments
Want to learn more?
Jump into our Community Guide to learn more about setting up a thriving community and house culture. It includes useful resources and tools for running a successful coliving home.
Maintenance & Repairs
1. Maintenance requests are submitted at opendoor.io/repairs.
2. A notification is sent to the community’s #opendoor_chat Slack channel that a maintenance ticket has been created.
3. Additional notifications are automatically sent to the same Slack channel when there are any changes made to the maintenance ticket, such as an update on the status, new information on the issue, and when the ticket is complete.
OpenDoor Private Room Subletting Policy
This policy is designed to provide clear expectations and procedures for Members subletting their private room, so as to protect Members, Households, and OpenDoor from potential upset and/or unintended consequences.
Members may only sublease or assign their Private Room with prior consent from the entire Household. Subletting is the full responsibility of the Member, not OpenDoor nor other Members. Members must adhere to the following rules:
- Member pays their rent, food, and utilities to OpenDoor per usual, and is responsible for working out all financial arrangements with the subtenant directly.
- Member is responsible for working out all the necessary logistics with the Household - food, chores, finances, etc.
- The Member must sign a sublease agreement with the subtenant, using the agreement provided by OpenDoor. Note: this is an agreement between the Member and the sublessor, OpenDoor is not directly involved.
- The sublease term must not be greater than 60 days. Anything longer requires explicit written permission from OpenDoor, in addition to approval from the Household.
- Member must register the sublease with OpenDoor. This means emailing a signed copy to [email protected] Per the membership agreement, OpenDoor reserves the right to deny anyone subtenancy, but would only do that if we had some serious concern for the comfort and/or safety of the house.
- Members may only sublease or assign their Private Room with prior consent from the entire Household, and may not sublet common areas or common furnishings.
OpenDoor Sublease Agreement Template:
Adding a New Resident
Adding a New Resident
If your community has selected a new member to join, connect them with OpenDoor for final approval and to begin the move-in process.
You can introduce them to OpenDoor via email: [email protected]
Shared Food Program
Shared Food Program
OpenDoor Shared Food Program Policy
Food and shared meals are a central part of living in community. A core part of OpenDoor’s coliving program is our Shared Food Program, which provides shared groceries and regular community dinners to Members. This program makes it easy to share a single kitchen between many people and to cook meals together, while also reducing food costs through bulk purchases. This policy is designed to provide clear expectations and procedures for Members participating in the Shared Food Program.
The Household is required to have a Shared Food Program that each Member pays into monthly. This program includes shared groceries and regular community dinners. OpenDoor manages the collection of Shared Food Program payments and transfers them to a Member-managed House Fund. The Household is required to maintain a shared account that serves as the House Fund. The monthly contribution amount is set by the Household must be equal for each Member.
Members self-manage the selection and purchasing of groceries, as well as the cooking of meals through meal shifts. OpenDoor provides members with basic tools for coordinating meal shifts and grocery purchases and works closely with them to set up the Shared Food Program. Additionally, the Household is required to designate one person as the Food Manager, who is in charge of the House Fund and Shared Food Program. In practice, this role is typically shared between multiple Members, but we require one person to be designated as our official point of contact for the Shared Food Program. The role is a typically a volunteer role, though can be paid out of the monthly food collections if decided on by Members.
- Members are invoiced every month for their contributions to the Shared Food Program.
- OpenDoor aggregates the monthly food contributions and transfers them into the House Fund for the Household to purchase common foods.
- Individual Members are responsible for working out all the necessary logistics with the Food Manager for cooking shifts, cleaning shifts, and grocery runs.
- Member may opt out of the Shared Food Program with at least 3 days prior written notice before the next billing.
New OpenDoor residents will be invited to a house-specific slack account. Email [email protected] if you haven’t yet recieved your invitation
OPENDOOR USES SLACK AS A CHAT PLATFORM FOR
1) Internal communication among community members (OpenDoor will not be on the channels where most of this happens to protect your privacy) and
2) A direct line of communication to OpenDoor (via the #opendoor_chat channel).
TEAMS & WORKSPACES
A team is a group of people that use Slack to communicate (aka the Bryce St community). Your Slack workspace is the digital space you and your teammates (housemates) share to communicate.
Your Slack workspace is comprised of channels. You’ll use channels to hold most of your conversations with other members. They can be organized around anything — events, food, plants — and you can create as many as you need. We went ahead and created some channels in your workspace, but again, feel free to add new ones as you need them!
In addition to using channels to communicate, you can send direct messages to other members. This can be used for a private conversation between 2 or more people.
Check out this article for more info about getting started.