Re: Shared Ownership of Units / Parcels -- Creative Legal Possibilities?
From: Mac Thomson (
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 10:30:05 -0500
Ben Sher asked:
> If a subgroup of the whole wished to
> purchase a single parcel and construct 3 units on it (main house with
> attached living unit and a granny flat), is there a creative legal
> entity which would prevent any single co-owner of the parcel from
> forcing the sale of parcel if one of the parties wanted out?
> Can coowners of such a parcel execute a legal document requiring that
> all owners must agree unanimously before any single owner sells or
> transfers their title to somebody else?  And that they can't sell
> without the new buyer agreeing to execute an identical document?  Is
> there any simple and clean way to do this kind of shared ownership?  Or
> must cohousers who wish to buy property in this fashion simply rely on
> old-fashioned trust and cooperation to make it work?
> Ben Sher
> Placerville Cohousing

I would think that this could be easily accomplished by forming some 
entity to purchase the parcel.  The households would own an interest in 
the entity.  You could create whatever rules suited you for buying and 
selling your interest in the entity.  I would think that just a plain 
old Sub S corporation might accomplish this for you pretty easily and 
protect you from a liability standpoint.  You'll of course want to talk 
to a lawyer about it.

A couple of issues do come to mind, however.  One is financing.  My 
understanding is that lenders may be relunctant to give you a mortgage 
on a home that sits on land that you don't have clear personal title to.

The second is that if your subgroup of 3 households buys just one parcel 
then I presume that they'd only be paying a third as much per household 
for their "spot" in the community.  Wouldn't this mean that the other 
households would be subsidizing them?

Also, when you get approval to develop parcels from the city or county, 
usually they allow only one home per parcel.  Will your city or county 
let you build 3? 

           Mac Thomson                   San Juan Cohousing
           ganesh [at]                Durango, Colorado

 "Who loves not wine, woman, and song,
      Remains a fool his whole life long."
                          - Martin Luther

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