Ben Dunn-Flores

Founder CEO @ Roost
58 karmaJoined Working (0-5 years)London, UK



Working on Roost - a way for EAs to donate their rent, instead of it going to landlords.

If you pay £1000 per month in rent, you could be donating an extra £400 to effective causes with no change to your spending.

How others can help me

  • If you're interested in living in a co-op so you can donate your rent
  • If you're interested in donating money for deposits, so other people can donate their rent

How I can help others

Reach out to me if you're interested in setting up a co-op, whether or not you want to use Roost to do it. I talk about legal forms and sources of funds (it's not legal or financial advice).


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Often easier than in London! Higher rental yields in places like Bristol -- i.e. gross rent / price -- mean it's cheaper compared to the market.

Bristol has a couple restricted areas, but most seem to work [1]. Outside of London, it's often affordable to create one-household co-ops.

Email me at and we can talk through some more details if that would be useful?


That's fair -- I was probably being quite optimistic there. If we split people into 3 samples:

200 people who engage monthly

  • 800 people who open the mailing list regularly
  • 9,000 people who know what the letters 'EA' stand for

I'm hoping that the 200 would be willing to put in a reasonable amount of marginal effort for expected lifestyle improvements and greater donations

I'd expect that the next 800 would be willing to put in a little marginal effort for proven lifestyle improvements and donations

And I'd expect the next 8,000 to be willing to choose a co-op over a rented home if it wasn't any extra effort for themselves

I think we can use the evidence from the first group to convince the next, while doing it for free, and then use revenue from the 800 group to build a product for the next 9,000.

... And from there scale up to the general population, offering something better than renting, as easy to access, and which donates an appreciable percentage to effective causes.

It's 40% of gross rent, but 14% return on capital employed, and that's when it's leveraged with a 75% mortgage.

Looking at resources for landlords, 14% is realistic [1]. Housed in multiple occupation are a fairly high risk investment compared to standard rental properties or to index funds -- the landlord is liable for the mortgage and running costs whether or not it is tenanted.

Often landlords use lettings agents, who take 10-15% of gross rent. It's quite a lot of work -- when tenants aren't aligned with the purpose.

  1. compared to standard buy,life of luxury in retirement.

I'll send through those documents to you -- if anyone else wants them, please email me or reply to this comment.

We'll match tenants to angels, and send the documents. I think this is a place where we can be useful -- as a central org with reputation at stake.

Hi @GMcGowan, I'm working on a bottom-up approach to changing UK housing - Housing co-ops solve a lot of the problems of renting, but are hard to set up. We're seeking to change that.

The aim is to create a million new housing co-operatives in 10 years. 

I'm excited because this is a plausible way to generate large funds for housing reform, but also a large coalition of engaged supporters. In our model, homes are owned by a non-profit land trust and managed by the tenants themselves -- all the surplus rent is reinvested or donated.

If streetvotes is passed, we will be able to help tenants organise for a streetvote. If it isn't, we'll be able to help them organise a Community Right To Build Order. The uplift in land value is largely captured by the non-profit.

Even if the subsequent plans fail, this creates a large supply of housing that is run in the best interests of the tenants and community, rather than landlords. Because the 'housing crisis' is almost entirely a 'renting crisis' - not being able to buy a home, and paying too much each month. If we can make co-op renting so good that people don't need to buy a home, we can solve a lot of the problems with our housing market.

I'm drafting a post called "Set up a co-op to donate your rent". I'd love to chat more.

Seconding this, a quick BCC blast would be wonderful

And what to expect regarding the Project Ideas and Jobs applications that went alongside the main grants