Re: community approval of new owners/members
From: Cher Stuewe Portnoff (
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 13:15:02 -0800 (PST)
Great question! From the outside looking in: Protect yourself by communicating your community values, ethics, and requirements clearly and simply. We "seekers" will usually self-select quite effectively. Why go where we won't be welcome and useful? Beneath inquiries about work requirements, pet rules, etc., are the deeper questions: Will we be accepted? Needed? Appreciated? Is this a place where we can fit in, find good company, make a meaningful contribution?

What image have you placed on the web? If your values and practices are not clearly and publicly articulated, maybe ask "why not"? Does a lack of openness and clarity risk attracting poor matches? You bet! So does marketing your image instead of revealing your reality.

And then, change happens in healthy, open communities anyway. Just hope and pray that when it does, it's developmental (rather than profit-driven, for example, or an ideological coup) and that it happens in a context of understanding and respect for the group's history.

But give seekers a fair chance to really know you so that they can self-select wisely. It's the best protection against being colonized, after all the hard work that has gone into creating and strengthening the kind of community you, the founders, want to preserve.

In cooperation and community,
Cher - Cohousing "seeker"
----- Original Message ----- From: <t.lanphar [at]>
To: <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 1:44 PM
Subject: [C-L]_ community approval of new owners/members

What are some ways that communities have approved/accepted/welcomed new owners? Have any communities required community 'approval' of potential buyers, or established voluntary agreements that do that? If so, what are some legal implications? FAQs mentions 'right of first refusal' and voluntary agreements not to sell to people that won't participate in the community. What are appropriate 'hurdles' for a perspective buyer to get over?

I live in a small (11 household) cohousing community in Northern California and we want to preserve our community culture.

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