Re: drawbacks
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 16:42:25 -0700 (MST)
Lynn here, from RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA. We started around 
15 years ago. I've been living on site for about 7 years. I'm someone who 
thrives on this cohousing experience, but as the principal contact for 
potential joiners, I also know it's not for everyone. 

It's extra work. You still have to do most of your personal-life stuff, 
plus someone has to deal with the jointly-held stuff (cleaning, 
maintenance, mowing, weeding, purchasing), the responsibilities of being 
a legal entity (insurance, liability issues, accounting, taxes, City 
permits, etc.), and the whole PROCESS of deciding and implementing all 
those common affairs. Magic elves do not put supper on the table, water 
the trees, and pay the bills. 

It's extra time. Not only the above tasks, but the committees, task 
forces, meetings, discussion and sharing circles, social gatherings, work 
parties, reading and writing email, and more.

It costs extra. Yes, you get something for the investment. But you are 
paying more, here anyway, than you would for the same house 
just-anywhere; the value of the community amenities affect your property 
taxes; something like an unexpected lawsuit could cost you extra; and 
there is $800-1000 a year in annual assessment for operating expenses and 

It inhibits quick independent decision making in many matters. Yes you 
can get quite good at community process. But it's nothing like top-down 
administration in short-term "efficiency." If you are coming from the 
model of a corporate business, you can despair. Again, one gets a return 
on the time and patience put into seasoning a decision so it's more 
durable. But not everyone has the patience. 

Likewise, you can't always get what YOU want. At best, you'll be heard 
and your desires considered by the group. But nobody will always get it 
their preferred way. That has to be OK. As one develops trust in the 
quality of the group, this becomes easier. More so for some people than 
for others, though. 

Stuff you could just DO on an independent property may be regulated or 
need group process here. You can't just decide to adopt six dogs, or hang 
intense lights in your yard. 

Do I love it? Yes. 
Is it extra work, time, patience, and constraint? Yes. 
Is it worth it? For me yes. Not for everyone.  
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