RE: common house tensions to resolve
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 17:52:01 -0600 (MDT)
Insurance companies will sell you riders, which cover specific activities
not on your blanket insurance. If your company does not, there are many
which do and you can buy a rider from another company in addition to your
blanket policy. They are not very expensive, we bought one from Farmers to
cover a public event, cost $50 covered us for a one time three day event. No
problem, once we filled out the papers, now a phone call gets us coverage
and a bill later. This is simple and direct and allows even, gasp!, alcohol
drinking. Ask your insurance agent about it, they are always happy to sell
you stuff.

However, sometimes peoples issues are smokescreens. Insurance might really
be a front for some people not liking to have their turf invaded by so many
strangers. Remember this is about private housing at some level, and I can
attest to feeling a bit annoyed sometimes when it feels over invaded.

We allow our commonhouse  use to be  used by member sponsored outside
groups, including private parties and for profit gigs. You have to post your
thing in advance and people can veto it (never happened  yet but there have
been some modifications to events)  We have no tax issues, no nonprofit
issues, its just between us and god, nobody has ever checked on us and no
one ever will because in WA there is nobody to do the checking. Our
accounting is done by us, how we like it to be, with advising from a
professional on what the flags are.  I have said this before, only CA and NY
have condo police, as far as I have heard, all the rest of the states do
not. There is nobody who cares what your condo does with its books. You are
WAY too small to invoke any investigation. There are thousands of condo
associations in WA and when I once went to a state wide condo association
event, nobody had ever heard of any condo getting audited by the state
unless there was an internal complaint and the budget amount exceeded a
million dollars.

The fire Marshall used to check our commonhouse once a year, but even that
stopped happening (not a big enough facility to warrant the checker
position). Are people with binoculars spying on your every move? If so, you
have my condolences. At our place we are at the end of the road, surrounded
by our incredible greenbelt and do whatever pleases us.  Once, when the fire
Marshall came out on a walk ( he is a neighbor) we asked him what would
happen if we exceeded our occupancy in the commonhouse. He said, assuming
you got caught in the act, it would cost you a $35 fine. Then he made it
quite clear, that HE would never catch us, and it would take a pretty strong
complaint about it to get somebody out to do the counting, usually the next
day, at which time whatever number suited us would be the one officially

This summer we will be doing a weekend music  festival, a teenager out of
school  party, an art festival, and probably more than a dozen private
parties, on top of campfires (illegal of course), birthdays, late night
drunken drumming circles, and all manner of out in the country hedonistic
rituals. Yikes! If Mrs. Grundy ever got wind of it, we'd be amused, and just
do our thing anyway.

Sharingwood becomes a giant summer camp in the sunny warm months, and we
wouldn't have it any other way. Our commonhouse is monitored by us, only us
and we do what we want.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Cohousing
Where a mama deer has given birth to a fawn, baby birds are everywhere,
chipmunks frolic, the kids have gone feral, the parents hang out late around
the campfire. You can join us, we have some rentals opening and a house for

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