Re: Re: Public Use of the Common House
From: ken (
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 17:24:42 -0800 (PST)
Wow.  That's all really great.  Sounds like a great place to live.  I
hope, though, that you've discussed all this with a lawyer.  I ran a
computer club some years ago, talked to a lawyer about setting up a
501c3, and was surprised at all the liability I was exposing myself to
by not already having one.  "If somebody slips on the floor," he said,
"even though you don't own the building, you could be found liable--
personally."  Things get worse if you serve alcohol of course.

The important thing is not really the 501c3, but to have some kind of
corporation to contain the liability.  A charitable organization can
have tax advantages though... if there's sufficient money to be taxed.
Otherwise a regular for-profit corporation might suit your situation
just as well and without the extra hoops you have to jump through
getting non-profit status.

Not being a lawyer, I can't give much more than a few tips.  (There's
also that nuisance about practicing law without a license.  :)


Lynn Nadeau wrote:
> RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA.
> 21 families on site, town of 8000.
> We typically use the common house for
> 1) Personal Socials
> Birthday party, family reunion, cast party, memorial gathering, etc.
> Fee is flat $10.
> 2) Sponsored Events (the vast majority of non-RW uses)
> Member who is part of an organization or project "sponsors" it,
> involving responsibility to be there, start to finish, set up, clean up,
> house rules. Among us, we must belong to nearly every liberal
> organization in town, so we have meetings, workshops, slide shows,
> socials for Bird Watchers, Green Party, Nonmotorized Transportation
> Board, Depleted Uranium Study Team, Quakers, Katrina Relief Sister City
> Project, etc. Fee is $1 per person, $10 minimum.
> There is periodic interest in larger events, especially "house concerts"
> with performers  and general public. This has been a great source of
> confusion with our insurers (CAU). We've had responses ranging from "if
> you do any public events, we'll cancel everything on you" to "sure,
> that's ok".
> At one point someone here was researching setting up a sub group that
> was a 501c3 that could have arts events, for example, without an
> insurance issue.
> We'd be really interested in other groups experience with insurance
> companies, regarding
> house concerts
> renting to outside groups, without a present member-sponsor
> serving food to the public (prepared at the CH)
> making food that's served or sold elsewhere at a public event
> alcohol issues for events that involve the public.
> Thanks,
> Lynn Nadeau
> _________________________________________________________________
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