Re: Valuation for Common Facilities use - Adjacent Neighbors & Sharing
From: Hank Obermayer (
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2009 09:30:03 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks Jessie & Sharon.

We've thought through a lot of the liability issues, legal status issues, rights/responsibilities/usage issues, etc. While we're not done, we have a sense of what's thorniest there. We may never get clear answers for everything, but we're ok with that. What we're looking for now is some numbers to use for coming up with a market valuation.

The direction we're heading for now is for the condo association to lease it's common facilities to a "club" (with some usage restrictions that leave some uses, responsibilities, etc clearly in the hands of condo owners). The condo association would also pay membership dues to the club for condo residents. People who are not condo residents will have to pay dues in some other way. In addition, we already have a little common space that is *not* in the condo association, and we've discussed expanding that by using one room in the non-condo building as an exercise room. With this model our club could also rent the exercise room from the owners of that building.

There are a lot more specifics in the way we're going, and a lot of issues to resolve or at least agree not to resolve now. But we're also a very small cohousing community, which helps. Fewer opinions. Everyone is actively involved (really, everyone). Lots of good will.

But how much is the CH worth? Is it $75/month for each adult? $150? We don't know. What are others charging or asking for?


On Sep 30, 2009, at 6:25 AM, Sharon Villines wrote:

I would suggest that you be very clear under what circumstances people
use the CH and how.

Our members have widely varying views on this. It will in all
likelihood be difficult to maintain the member/guest/friendly neighbor
distinctions if you have non residents as members.

Some of our members believe that anyone who has rented here or wants
to move here should be included as a member. to participate in meals,
belong to a team, etc. Relatives and friends should be able to sign up
for meals on their own etc. Others, of course, do not.

Once people are given free reign of the CH it is hard to say, "This is
private property. You can only be here as a guest of a member." Or,
"You have to leave now. You didn't pay your dues this month." It feels
rude and whose responsibility is it anyway? Who even knows if they
paid their dues?

Who will monitor whether people are paying members or guests of a
member? Are there different rules for different kinds of members and

We have differences of opinion (and complete oblivion of the issue)
about who should be able to use the kitchen or lounge around the CH.
If I have 4 guests staying in the guest rooms, are they allowed to use
the CH for 10 days as an almost constant presence watching TV, eating,
etc. Can they have guests? Should I be present if my guests are? If
I'm not, who helps them? Answering questions, warning them about
problems with tuning the TV, telling them where the brooms are, how to
work the clothes washer, where to buy detergent, etc. My guests might
be very obnoxious people who demand attention or laugh too loud.

We do have a prohibition against their using the kitchen because they
left so many messes, but there is a fine line between them using it
alone and me "supervising" when I'm at work all day and not around in
the evening.

We have several parents of residents who do not live in the area and
visit frequently, often to do child care. They feel different. But
neighbors would feel different and be a potentially frequent or even
constant presence. It's a fine line. And one that can't be redrawn
without offending both sides of the equation. Some of your members,
not just your neighbors, will be furious if you try to redraw it.

There is an added issue with formal memberships rather than renting
for a specific use. Beyond insurance and liability, our lawyer said
that it would change our legal status. We would be functioning as
something other than a condo association.

I'm not saying don't do it. A CH can be a financial burden and this is
one way of helping with that, as well as being neighborly. But it's
potentially a more complex issue than you might expect.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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