Re: Senior Cohousing / rental / http
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 9 May 2009 16:32:25 -0700 (PDT)

On May 9, 2009, at 10:56 AM, fran.levin [at] wrote:

I hope that we can re-think the rental concept. [snip] I would definitely be involved n any community where I reside. There must be others in the same situation.

It the isn't the rental concept so much as the problem of absentee owners. By law the owner of a condominium has decision-making rights. The owner can object to decisions that the residents want/need. If the owner refuses to agree to plant grass on the lawn or allow a new kids room to be built, the renters have no recourse. The owner is in control.

I think many people would like the rental option. I think the only way it would work with consensus decision-making is if the owner lived in the community and the renter was comfortable living next door to their landlord. This is not always an easy relationship. The renter feels watched and the landlord knows too much about how his or her property is being treated.

I think it would work better in a building where everyone was renting and the community was built around social interactions, not ownership. This would be hard because rental buildings tend to be more transient.

The other possibility is more affordable housing. To develop the small house concept, the high-rise apartment building with smaller units and a central common area, or alternative construction methods like straw bale.

If investors could be found to fund these developments and hold mortgages, it might make it easier for people to own their homes. Since cohousing tends to build stronger, more stable communities, there would be less risk in building them -- perhaps.

Sharon Villines in Washington DC
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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