Re: Resale of houses and new member orientation
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 17:50:43 -0600
I would pose a sub question:

What do you do or can one do when the property changes owners in a way 
that does not entail someone who wants to find a cohousing-oriented buyer?

Anyone who owns one of our lots is legally a member, with rights and 
responsibilities, however that ownership is acquired. Could be 
repossessed by a bank. Could be won in a poker game or a lawsuit, for 
that matter. 

We have had two elderly members die. In one case, the heirs became 
interested in living at RoseWind, moved here, and have become active in 
the community. One of them  has had to struggle with the fact that we are 
not as "controlled" a community as he had envisioned. 

The other lot was disposed of by a very estranged family, who rejected 
anything to do with us. We offered to find them a buyer, at no fee and 
whatever their asking price. They changed the locks. And one day a real 
estate sign went up, and the next day the house was sold. To someone 
whose primary attraction to buy may have been  the attractive house and 
low price. The buyer's relationship to the group has been patchy, with 
little participation in meetings and such, and they have been upset, and 
angry,  that sometimes their ideas, when proffered, have not been acted 
upon, in the case of things the group felt had been decided years ago. 
The buyer may eventually integrate more into the community, but did not 
initially research the community or come to it because of the community.

Way back, we looked at some sort of "first right of refusal" for 
RoseWind, in resale situations. We did not institute that because people 
were afraid it could infringe on their own right to pass their property 
to new owners of their choice-- perhaps friends or relatives-- without 
the group having to "approve" and "allow" such a transaction. In 
practical terms, we also do not have the capital for RoseWind to buy a RW 
house, or even an unbuilt lot at this point, to hold  till a buyer that 
suits us might be found. 

Please tell us if you have provisions in your bylaws or deeds which bring 
the cohousing association into the transaction, which would be 
appropriate for us (we are neither coop nor condo, but a non-profit with 
a homeowners' association). As we age, there may well be many more 
"estate" situations, besides the usual reasons people may move and sell. 

Lynn Nadeau RoseWind Cohousing Port Townsend WA

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