Translate
Home > Involving you > Soha Membership
Soha Membership

Soha Membership

In Soha’s 20th year, here’s our vision for the next 20 years. 

We want you to be part of it!

Watch Soha’s Chief Executive, Richard Peacock, explain why he thinks Soha should open up shareholding membership to tenants.

“Soha came about through a tenants’ vote. Now, tenants should have a bigger say in their housing association.” 
Vic Breach, Chair of the Board and Soha tenant

For 20 years, Soha has been a community based housing association, working closely with residents to make a difference to neighbourhoods, households and lives. We're really proud of what we've achieved together.

We think Soha is a special company because of the people: tenants, shared owners, leaseholders, staff and Board members.

In Soha`s 20th year, we are redefining the ways we work together and looking at how we can give residents more of a say in the biggest decisions by extending membership to all tenants.

“Tenants have good ways of being involved at Soha. But by becoming shareholding members, tenants can have even more influence for years ahead.” 
Val Kir, Chair of Soha Tenants’ Forum

What will this mean?

  • Soha's members make the biggest decisions about the company's future. At the moment, there are 24 members who meet once a year at the Annual General Meeting. The proposal is to open up membership to all tenants. 
  • The Board will continue to be responsible for Soha and will make decisions about finances, services and the development of new homes. The Chief Executive and team of staff will continue to deliver services on a day to day basis.
  • Soha will continue to involve residents in decision making and keep track of services. We believe this would become stronger by the new membership structure.

 

“As a tenant, I think we sometimes feel things are done to us and we just have to let it happen. I hope that being a member will give all tenants real influence in something which is a big part of our lives.” 
Carole Burchett, Chair of Soha Tenant Scrutiny Group

Who's it for?

All tenancy holders would have the right to apply for membership. This includes tenants, shared owners and leaseholders.

There are some restrictions, for example people who are disqualified from being a company director and people in court action with Soha.

We are considering how best to include other household members. For example, should we have an associate membership (with no voting powers) to involve partners, children and other household members who do not have the same legal relationship with Soha.

Why change?

Our proposal would ensure that Soha remains focused on providing great services to tenants. 

This has been done by a few other Housing Associations and we have learnt from them the advantages and disadvantages of widening membership to tenants.

Soha has a great record of involving tenants. We believe that extending membership will strengthen how we continue to involve tenants.

We have talked in detail with around 80 involved tenants. They are supportive of the proposed change to extend membership to more tenants and their views have formed the basis for a number  of consultation questions. 

Soha membership consultation

We have written to all Soha tenants asking for their views via a survey. If you haven’t received this letter and would like to give your views, please email ri@soha.co.uk

Soha is constituted as a Community Benefit Society. This legal structure means that we are formally ‘owned’ by members. We are non-profit making, so there is no financial return to them. However, they get the final say in major decisions, for example over the charitable purpose of the association and who the Board members are.

Yes, it’s quite common for a housing association to have some tenant members. A few housing associations have worked extremely hard on making tenant membership meaningful. They have developed a structure that means tenant involvement and influence is built into the way the organisation works.

Some examples are:


We have worked hard with residents to develop a good model and culture of involvement and are known across the country for how we do this. More than 8/10 tenants are happy with how we listen to their views and act on them. 

So a membership offer might not make a big difference to this.

However, we think it gives the right structure to support how we work. It means that tenants will be involved in having the final say in major decisions over the charitable purpose of the association and who the Board members are. 

We think this also sends the right message to tenants and to the outside world about the importance of tenants’ views at Soha.

In short, no, you will not need to pay to become a member of Soha. Housing associations with members usually have a notional membership fee of between 10p to £1. However, they set aside an amount to cover this within their accounts and individual members do not actually have to pay anything. If the company should wind up, the individual member’s liability is limited to this notional fee and is settled from the association’s account.


This is a really important question, as members are responsible for some crucial decisions. In brief, a member must sign up to the values and purpose of Soha. They must make decisions in the best interest of the organisation. 

In practice, we will provide more information on this when the final decisions about the membership scheme have been made. 

We will also open up training to all members and those interested in becoming members on how Soha works and why membership is important. 

Legally, a member’s liability is limited to £1 (maximum). However, Soha would make provision for this in their accounts, so there is no financial liability for members.

Contact Us

Pen

Soha Housing
Royal Scot House
99 Station Road
Didcot
Oxfordshire
OX11 7NN

Phone

01235 515 900
0800 014 15 45

Quick Links