re: allocation of common costs
From: cynthia . e . carpenter (
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 1998 09:27:55 -0500
Stephanie Fassnacht wrote:

>How have other groups allocated these costs?  per household?  adult?
>square footage?  number of bedrooms?   What's worked and what hasn't?

We allocate most of them on the basis of our condo ownership share, which
is based on our unit's price as a proportion of the whole project's cost.
This is either very common practice or law around here (I' m not sure
which), and seemed as good an approach as the others you mentioned.  They
all have drawbacks and selling points.

One thing that helps to make this method feel fair is the number of factors
that went into our pricing of our units.  We had a committee that worked
long and hard on pricing, and took into account factors such as square
footage, number of bedrooms, amount and kind of land deeded to the unit,
number and kind of exposures (thus the amount of light), floor in building
(higher floors have a higher market value because of view), etc.  We tried
to tie the prices to their eventual open-market price, not just the actual
cost of building them.  To a certain extent, people chose units on the
basis of what they could afford, so  charging common costs according to the
ownership share continues to allocate costs on the basis of what people can

We've debated many alternatives for allocating energy costs (which are not
metered individually), and so far haven't found a better approach than
ownership shares.  Tracking the number of people, in particular, gets very
sticky very fast.  Does the part-time resident lover count?  For how much?
How about the college student home for breaks?  Or the new baby?  You get
the picture.

Good luck!
- Cindy Carpenter
Cambridge Cohousing

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