Re: Renters
From: Denise Meier and/or Michael Jacob (
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 10:35:36 -0600
It seems to me that the scarcity of renters in the more traditional (and
alas, more common - I think the N street model is the way to go!) 
cohousing neighborhoods has to do with the amount of work involved in
making it happen. Four years into this project, the only thing that keeps
me going is the idea of living there. I can't imagine going through this
amount of work, anxiety, and financial risk to own rental property.
Certainly it may happen that the owners of one or more of our homes may
decide to rent them out down the road, if work or adventure or something
else takes them away from the area at some point. But no sane person would
work this hard to be a landlord.

Do you have people who are thinking of buying in in this way? If you do,
then by all means, spend the time to figure out how to work it. But
speaking as one who has put in many hours on "what if" situations that
never materialized, I'd suggest making sure that you've got the interest

Denise Meier
Sebastopol, CAlifornia

 On Fri,
6 Feb 1998, Smith & McGowan wrote:

> Toni Smith Wrote:
> Creek's Bend Cohousing in Troy New York is exploring the possibility of
> a few owners holding rental units.  Is there experience with "community
> participation" on the part of the renters.  One of the typical
> advantages of renting is the non-involvement in one's facility or
> grounds.  And is there an attempt to hyper select or set a covenant with
> all the other homeowners about expectations for community participation
> on the part of renters. Meetings, meals, even if optional for anyone are
> important for community and I wonder if a renter would find the basic
> tenants of cohousing stimulating if they are not fiscally invested.
> Toni Smith
> Kevin Wolf wrote:
> > 
> > At 08:19 AM 2/1/98 -0600, Ed Cynewski wrote:
> > >In the breif time that I've been subbed to the list, I've noticed that
> > >renters are the exception rather than the norm in Cohousing communities.
> > >Any feedback about experience with renters in this type of housing would
> > >be much appreciated.
> > 
> > Ed
> > 
> > Almost every house in the N Street community started as a rental.  This
> > neighborhood was and is known as having among the lowest rental rates in
> > town, the most student rentals and least number of owner occupied homes.
> > Startiug here allowed us to have many lower income people be part of the
> > community.
> > 
> > Six of the houses in the community were bought from their landlords by
> > tenants in the community.  By negotiating directly with the owner and not
> > through a real estate agency, our community members cut an average of 3%
> > off the house price.
> > 
> > Five of the houses in the community are still rentals.  The cost per room
> > in these houses are among the lowest in town.  The landlords seem to be
> > willing to keep the prices lower because they know they have a good deal in
> > no tenant problems, lost rent etc.
> > 
> > We haven't done a study of it but I wouldn't be surprised if over the last
> > ten years, especially during the first 5) N Street has had among the lowest
> > average adult income of any co-housing community.  (This not so true now
> > that more of us have moved up in our professions, and we don't have as many
> > students.)
> > 
> > It seems intuitive that by going the retrofit route in a lower income
> > housing part of town, there is a much better chance of having the cohousing
> > community be composed of lower income people.
> > 
> > Kevin
> > Kevin Wolf & Associates    - Consensus Facilitation
> > 724 N Street               - Strategic and Watershed
> > Davis, CA 95616              planning
> > kjwolf [at]     - Internet development
> > Phone 530-758-4211         - Stanislaus Stakeholder proccess
> > Fax   530-758-2338
> >

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