Our Social Contract
Strong communities are built on a foundation of trust and common structure. We want you to know how our community runs as you are entering. There is no right answer across all groups of people. As such, this is our “social contract.” It’s an agreement based on the current norms of the house, but we’re open to it shifting and flexing as people move in and out. We highlight components of that agreement below:
There are very few rules. Those we do implement, we do so because after much experimentation in living with community they seem fundamentally helpful when groups of strangers come together. More than anything, we ask that you be considerate of others, treating thy neighbor not only as you would wish to be treated, but as they do.
- Food: Everyone has private or labeled food storage in the fridge, freezer and cabinets. While spontaneous sharing often occurs, there is no expectation of daily, weekly or even monthly meals. Our monthly meeting may involve food as a choice, but not as an expectation. We do generally share spices, olive oil, popcorn, condiments, fruit and a few other bulk items. There are areas in each home designated for food that is open for anyone to share, but it is not an expectation that you put food there.
- Cleanliness: There is an expectation that people clean up after themselves in public places. When cooking, eating, hosting a meal, etc... tidy up once the event is done.
- Noise: During workdays one can expect noise levels to be kept down between 10:30 pm to 8:00 am. On weekends this “quieter time” shifts to between midnight and 9:30 am.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate: If you are working on a project and need a space for a few days in the shared space it can bed accomodated, but let people know. If a guest is arriving late at night and will need a parking place, let people know. If you will be out of town for a week, let people know. We will have a group email and can discuss other communication options at our meetings. We are open to all kinds of arrangements and opportunities, but ask for alignment in advance!
- Parking: Please park cars being considerate of others needs. Don’t park too close to the garage doors and please maximize other parking places by keeping things neat and tight. For gatherings on weekends or during the summer we encourage guests to park at the school lot up the street and walk to our property from there. We use street parking as a last resort out of respect to our neighbors. When Airbnb gets going again, we offer off-street parking to them as well.
- Guests: You are welcome to have friends, guests, dates, or partners over any time you wish - it’s your home, and we won’t track their comings in goings. That said, they should follow the same rules we follow. If you have a lot of guests at the same time, it is wise to let people know in advance (not required, but good) in case others are doing the same or need personal space for some reason.
Work Sharing & Rent Discounts
There is an expectation that everyone who lives in the community contributes some work for the place. Work given comes back to you in three ways …
First, we believe there is value in working to take care of the place in which you live. Working together can be unifying. Much of the work leads to a sense of pride when sharing the outcomes of the work. Much of the work is physical, and good for the body.
Second, you can get up to $100 a month for work done. However, this “deal” is not intended to be seen as a contract for time, as much as a gift in return for work. The intention is that those who live here intrinsically enjoy helping.
Third, the house and property can generate funds that we can share. The obvious way for this is through Airbnb. Last year, with just one house, approximately $14,000 was generated. These funds first go to cover utilities for all, and then a portion is set aside for long term household projects and equipment repair. After this, the rest of the proceeds get evenly distributed for all who live here. Based on one home last year, each person in the house would receive the equivalent of $104 a month. This comes in one lump sum at the endof the calendar year.
From the abundance perspective, there may be opportunities to grow this revenue sharing. Yoga retreats? Camp sites? Growing teas or herbs or herbal medicines? It is up to our desire and creativity as a community.
PLEASE NOTE: House Revenue has been severely impacted by Airbnb closures during the pandemic. Until the Pandemic ends I will cover roughly half of all utilities with the expectation that you pay an additional flat fee of $50 a month, over and above rent, to cover the other half.
Details on our work share program under rental terms
We believe in freedom, and will not lock you into a lease. If you need the assurances that a longer lease provides, after your first month here we can agree to a six month commitment. After these six months, we can offer a year long commitment. Both of these are contingent on a shared agreement things are going well. If at any time you ever wish to vacate, you may. We just ask that you offer 30 day’s notice.
Know that as the homeowner, Ken reserves the right to ask people to leave under extenuating circumstances, within the bounds of law.
Because your rent can vary month to month based on the fact that you can work hours to reduce your rent, you pay rent at the end of each month.
There is one small variance to this. While our work share program functions on the basis of trust, during your first month (before full trust is bestowed) I ask that you pay half your monthly rate up front, and then the second half (minus any hours worked) at the end of the month. After this all payments will be done at the end of the month.
At Hawksnest, you can earn money back for work done to support the community. Rent is reduced at a rate of $15 an hour, up to $100, or 6.5 hours of work per month. It is your responsibility to keep track of your hours up the $100 max. You are certainly welcome to work past this amount, but there won't be additional rent reduction.
We bring you into this house from a basis of trust. Accordingly there is no need to verify or validate the hours you work. If you say you worked four hours, there is trust that you worked four hours.
We define "work" as anything that is beneficial to the community/household above and beyond the normal requirements of living. Work you must do regardless of where you live (i.e. doing dishes, cooking a meal, occasional bathroom cleaning) does not count. That said, a deep clean of the kitchen or bathroom, washing all the windows in the house, painting a common room, mowing the grass, making beds and cleaning for Airbnb, helping to build a greenhouse, sewing a seat cushion for the porch - all of these things would count towards your rent reduction. As the owner, Ken does not need to validate hours, but he does need to be engaged with what work is being done - please check in before pursuing major projects. (like construction or repair).
While not required, is it highly recommended that all tenants consider purchasing renters insurance. 'We can offer you a broker if you are intereted. It is in the ball park of $125 for a full year.
We believe in trust. If you break something, you will fix it because that is the right thing to do. On that expectation, we do not take security deposits.
Payments can be made however is most convenient for you. A check, paypal, cash, venmo - whatever we agree on as best.
A month or so in, expect a chat with Ken or other long-time community members to have a conversation on how living here is going. You can anticipate a similar one-on-one check in every six months or so.
Every person joining the household will get an orientation within the first week of their stay to learn where they can store their food, how the compost and recycling system works, where the rag box is (we avoid paper towels where possible), how to use the hot tub, fire places, fire pit, grills, laundry, bikes, gardens, fishing, etc...
There is an expectation to be as kind and respectful as we can to our neighbors. We are hyper vigilant here. We are doing something outside of the norm, and we do not want any complaints - ever! We make sure we park on the street as little as possible, and when we do we park close to the side to stay out of the way. We are considerate with noise. We offer help if needed. We offer extra vegetables, eggs, etc… when they are available.
We currently have consistent sanitation and living protocols in the community as some members are immunocompromised. We will instruct you in this when moving in. Because of the higher risk (and because it is smart) we expect those who live here to be cautious and smart when out in public, including frequent hand washing, sanitizing, and mask wearing in crowded places. We would ask that you social distance as much as possible. Before admittance to the household, assuming it is still free and easy to get tested, we expect a clean COVID-19 test.
The house currently has two foster chinchillas (Rupert and Stanley), and two cockatiels (Max and Reilly). We are reluctant to welcome cats into our homes as we have found that allergies prevent people from visiting, which reduces our Airbnb income. The large basswood room in the Hawk's Nest and the upper apartment in the Coyote’s Den might be an exception for the right indoor cat. We are less reluctant about a dog, but are nervous it could disrupt either the local wildlife or the neighbors - while it is possible to be talked into a dog, it will need to be a pretty special one with some evidence of good behavior around wild animals and limited barking.
Retreats & AirBnBs
As a give back to the community we will occasionally offer the property up for retreats, meetings, or even small fundraising dinners for non profits in town. We do not usually charge for this, but we do sometimes get tips, which would be added to the household revenue. As with any social event, we will communicate about these events well in advance.
This house has been on Airbnb for nearly five years, and the experience has been fantastic. Community members have made long lasting friendships with people from all over the world. We’ve had extraordinary meals created, enjoyed surprise packages as gifts of gratitude, and learned about things we’d never thought to know. Each person is an opportunity for us to learn and grow, and it keeps the place vibrant (while admittedly also forcing some cleanliness). As mentioned above, the income comes back to the house and tenants. Our vision is to continue this when it starts up again in both homes. You can see details here: