Another way is possible.

Really? Yes.  Even in London. Just about.
It sounds difficult! It is, but your solicitor's the one who'll suffer. Ours certainly did.

What have you done, exactly?
We've formed a not for profit co-operative to buy a large house in Walthamstow, and we're all renting it from the co-op together.

Hang on, why?
It's much friendlier, much more flexible, cheaper, and it's much, much more efficient to live together.

So it's just like a flatshare? Up to a point! We get to be our own landlord, but none of us is trapped here.

But you all have a bedroom each, and there's a lounge, and it's exactly the same.
Buying our house has got us rather more! Rooms for a library, a lounge, two kitchens, a conservatory, and a large garden too.

Sounds nice. So nice it'll never happen again.
Nonsense. We were lucky, but things come up all the time. Even houses this size - there's space for ten of us here, plus guests.

That's a lot of people! It is. That's half the fun.

Ah, so it's like a commune. Not at all. We each get to choose what we put in. We don't have to put in anything but rent.

So you own, but you rent. That doesn't make sense.
Au contraire. We own the thing that owns the house.

If you own it, why are you renting?
None of us has put money into the co-operative. It's not that kind of co-op. Each of us pays a pound, owns a share. Someone's got to pay the mortgage, and so we rent.

But you're all landlords.  We're not. The co-operative is.

You own the co-op.
But any of us can leave, and anyone can join. This doesn't touch the co-op.

So the co-op makes the money?
Ours doesn't.

But what if it did? If a developer offered you five times what you paid for it and you, the owners of the co-op, decide to sell. Then any money goes to other housing co-ops. There are plenty of them, and they'd all love donations! Or we buy a bigger building, and offer housing to more people.

A lot of work for no money at the end? Why bother?
Because a home doesn't have to be about money.