RE: Asking help with financial package
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 94 11:52:01 PDT
 Larry Henson wrote:

>Could we get descriptions of current cohousing legal
>structures and financing for existing groups to include in our package?

In our area cohousing groups fall into one of three legal categories: 
Condominium, Cooperative, and Miscellanous Corporations ( A  Washington 
State legal form)

Condominiums offer the ability to create transferable titles to 
property, define commonly owned spaces, and create covenants which are 
filed and run with the land. Condominiums are a well established legal 
form which banks understand.  Their are some speciality forms of 
condominiums such as air space condominiums. Sharingwood is an air 
space condominium which allows us to essentially subdivide property 
into "lots". If this is something you want more info on contact me 
personally. Condominiums are defined by a legal document called the 
CC&R's. They usually have a owners association which is incorporated as 
a non-profit group and has articles  of incorporation and bylaws which 
define its operation.

Cooperatives offer the ability to control who becomes a member, offer 
some potential development advantages such as a group drainfield 
(because there is own owner) and allow considerable creativity in 
controling  resale equity. For example you can set limits on how much a 
property is sold for which is a good way to maintain low income or 
affordable housing.  The property is owned by a corporation and shares 
are leased to members.  They are controlled by a legal corporation and 
has articles of incorporation and bylaws which define its operation. 
Cooperatives are not as well understood and accepted by the banking 
industry, although many cooperatives, including the Winslow Cohousing 
Group in Bainbridge WA have successfully found funding.

Many states have cooperative corporation laws and various forms of 
partnership types of legal agreements.


Exisiting Cohousing groups will often share copies of their legal 
agreements. Contact them directly or contact me and I can tell you 
which of the NW groups has what kind of legal ownership.

A Cohousing Resource Guide.  Rob Sandelin. 50pp. $5  Has a section on 
legal information and dealing with banks.
 22020 East Lost Lake Rd. Snohomish, WA 98290

Community, Inc. Legal Incorporation for Intentional Community.  Allen 
Butcher. Monograph, 20 pp.  $2 plus $1 P/H. An introduction to each 
currently used legal option for communities: partnerships, for-profit 
corporations, cooperative corporations, various non-profit 
corporations, community development corporations, community land 
trusts.  P.O. Box 1666m Denver CO 80201.

Federation of Egalitarian Communities Systems and Structures Catalog. 
16 pp. Describes sample documents including legal documents, tax 
information, economic and labor agreements. $1.00
Community Bookshelf, East Wind Community, Tecumseh, MO 65760

Growing Community Newsletter Issues: # 3 Partnerships, Corporations and 
Non-profits, # 4 Land Trusts, #5  Homeowners and Condominium Associations.
Individual issues cost $5, yearly subscriptions are $20 and can be gotten from:
Growing Community 1118 Round Butte Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80524.

Options for Incorporation of Intentional Communities by Albert Bates 
and Allen Butcher  pp. 98 in Directory of Intentional Communities: A 
Guide To Cooperative Living

Nolo Press Self Help books. The partnership book by Denis Clifford and 
Ralph Warner, How to form a nonprofit corporation by Anthony Mancusco, 
How to form your own corporation by Anthony Mancusco

National Association of Housing Cooperatives promotes the interests of 
cooperative housing communities.  2501 M. St., Suite 451, Washington 
D.C. 20005.

School of Living Land Trust offers training conferences, financing for 
Community land trust development and other services. Route 1, Box 185a, 
Cochranville, PA  19330 (215)-593-2346.

Rob Sandelin
Puget Sound Cohousing Network   206-936-7157
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

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