Re: Consulting fee assessments
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 1994 12:16:45 EST
> We at Tucson co-housing are having a rather rousing discussion
> concerning the assessment of fees for a consultant we are bring ing to
> town.  Does anyone have any experience in this.  Did you assess by
> household or by a per person basis?  what about future participoanyts?
> what about future houshold members?
> It's a hot debate and we need some input.

If Tuscon co-housing is a core group intent on building a cohousing
community, I strongly suggest you define membership and assesments on a
household basis.  If it is an umbrella group or just an informational
group, a per-person system may make more sense.  Alternatively, you can
do something in-between, e.g. a fixed price per household plus a fee per

In New View, an "account" is kept for each member household.  All
assesments and dues are credited to that account.  When the comunity is
built, each household's account is used as a credit against the cost of
their house.

Because of this accounting method, there is no need to have all members
contribute equally.  For example, there is no need for newer members to
"catch up" to the contributions made by older members.  Because New View
is so far along and has spent so much money on land, some of us older
members have an account that almost pays for our down payment.  Newer
members have a much smaller account and so will have a more normal down
payment when we finish building.  In addition, we expect that single
people will have smaller houses than families, so single people pay only
3/4 as much in assessments as households with two or more adults.
Finally, when large lay-outs for land were needed, a special fund was
set up so that people could contribute what they could afford (after a
minimum required contribution).

Interest is computed on all of this money (the land fund pays more
interest than the general fund).  The cost of paying ourselves
interest is added to the overall cost of building the development.  This
prevents households who contribute large amounts earlier in the process
from getting penalized by losing the value of their money.  If a
household leaves the comunity before contruction is complete, that
household is entitled to get back all but $500 of its money, but not
until the comunity is fully occupied (since the money is recoved
by selling units).

In general, our model has worked very well.  If you are just starting
out, begin immediately to keep track of what money each person
contributes to the group.  Then, regardless of what system you
eventually adopt, you will have the information necessary to implement
it fairly.


Pablo Halpern              (508) 435-5274         phalpern [at]

New View Neighborhood Development, Acton, MA

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