Frequently Asked Questions


What is a co-op?

We own it, and we run it, baby! That's right. We have no landlord. Our co-op is an intentional society in which we freely associate, share labor, and adhere to cooperative principles. It is a democratic organization in which every member gets a voice in how the house is run. In fact, our house is consensus-based, which means that for every decision we face, we have to find a solution that every member can feel comfortable with. If you want to learn more, here are Wikipedia links to cooperative and the Rochdale Principles of Cooperation.

What is the cost?

Our rooms range from $412-$532 per month (depending on the size of the room), plus $135 per month for food. That amount includes water, gas, electricity, high-speed internet, various household items, etc.

Is there an initial deposit?

The deposit is $500, $125 of which is non-refundable. The non-refundable portion goes into general house improvements and the North American Students of Cooperation membership fees. The $375 refundable portion will be returned to you when you move out. In the unlikely event that you have damaged house property or owe money or labor to the house, the cost of repair or debt will be deducted from your deposit before the remainder is returned to you.

What is the length of the lease?

We prefer that members expect to stay at Whitehall at least a year. Whitehall has a month-to-month contract, therefore no long-term lease is required. However, you are required to give 30 days notice before vacating the tenancy. As well, preference will be given to applicants who intend to stay at Whitehall for an extended period of time.

Are single rooms available?

All of our rooms are available for single occupancy.

What is the double room policy?

Due to size constraints, double occupancy of rooms is available only in the four rooms on the first floor. Each occupant of each room must go through the new member process, and both must pay deposits. The monthly rent for the room will increase by $50 while it is double occupancy to adjust for the increased use of utilities and shared resources.

Is meat allowed in the house?

Though Whitehall members range from vegans to meat eaters, the household is vegetarian. This means that we use our house funds to purchase vegetarian food and all food cooked in the house is vegetarian. It is ok to store personal restaurant leftovers with meat in them in the fridge and it is okay to cook and eat meat outside on the deck or porch.

Can members have cats/dogs?

Whitehall continues to maintain a "no furry pet policy." Though exceptions have been made for short lengths at the house's discretion, please do not expect to move in with your beloved animal.

Is there air conditioning and heat?

Members have the option of having a window-unit air conditioners in their rooms and paying a $20/month AC charge. There is a central attic fan that can get a breeze flowing, and we have a heater for the common rooms. Members may buy space heaters for their rooms.

Is there parking?

Unfortunately, Whitehall does not own any parking spaces. Cars are not very convenient in the West Campus neighborhood where we are located. House members who drive cars either rent spots from neighbors or compete with UT students for spots on the street.

I am planning to move to Austin, but I cannot visit beforehand. Can I still apply from a distance?

Yes. However, this makes the application process more difficult. The house is generally more likely to accept an applicant they have met in person.

Can I see a sample bio?

Below is a bio that one of our current members submitted when he was applying. This is not a template – other bios have been poems, bullet points, and other formats. Here it is:


Hi Whitehall,

My name is Will Slade. I lived in Royal House Coop for two years (02-04) and at House of Commons for a summer (04); I was trustee at Royal for some of that time, labor officer at HoC, and I was a facilities coordinator for ICC for a year. I think those experiences inform the ways in which I think about co-ops, and they reinforced my interest and skills in consensus building. That said, my experience cooking, cleaning, and gardening is probably more relevant to the labor that I would prefer at Whitehall if I am accepted. I admit that my large-group cooking skills are rusty, though. I value living in community with people; the interactions and collaboration that can happen in cooperative living are very exciting to me.

After moving out of the Austin Coops, I moved to Loja, Ecuador where I taught English for a year, and since then I have been in Denton, Texas where I have taught ESL at a high school. I will be starting a master's program in foreign language education at UT in the fall. I am fluent in Spanish and I have some ability in French. Learning from other cultures and interacting with people different from myself are some of my passions.

Regarding diet, I eat mostly vegetarian food; I eat fish and seafood but no land animals. I enjoy sharing vegetarian meals on a regular basis.

I will send references soon -- I want to get their permission before doing so.

Thanks, and I look forward to getting to know you all.