Creating a New Category of Renter
From: Rod Lambert (
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 07:24:14 -0800 (PST)

Perhaps organizations such as Mutual Housing Association could provide a helpful perspective if not a model for affordability and security of tenure? People get virtually permanent rentals even apparently to the point of passing it on to heirs. housing.htm

(To stretch this thread a little to include affordability for owners:)
Of course, organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and even the USDA have interesting sweat equity models, parts of which might be adaptable to CoHo. Here at EcoVillage at Ithaca, we encouraged sweat equity and custom design in the second neighborhood (SoNG) with very positive results including 2 straw bale homes. (An approach especially useful for people who have at least one dream home in them that just has to come out!) Several units were able to qualify for HUD grants of ~20K which further aided affordability. Unfortunately, most affordability efforts are one-time-only initiatives in that they don't get passed on to subsequent buyers. I think, as someone mentioned, unless at least some prices are permanently tied to local median income statistics somehow, permanently affordable cohousing communities are hard to sustain.

Rod Lambert

"Design Scapes"
Whole Community Design and Development - providing consulting for affordable, low eco-footprint communities
EcoVillage at Ithaca, NY.

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 20:39:53 -0700
From: Zev Paiss<zpaiss [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Creating a New Category of Renter
To:cohousing-l [at]
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Much of the discussion in this forum has surrounded the challenging
interaction between renters and owners in a renter cohousing model. I
propose that we offer up a totally new category I will call "Permanent
or Long-Term Renter." There are millions of Baby Boomers who have had
their savings, 401K's and IRA's evaporate over the past several years
(myself included) and may no longer expect or want to have a mortgage
as they move into their later years. What they (we) do want is
stability and the security that we will not be kicked out of our homes
because someone else has control over the property.

I suggest we investigate the possibility of creating 5-20 year rental
agreements so those people living in home they do not own, are still
able to have the long term security of homeowners.  This kind of
arrangement would open up cohousing and cohousing-like communities to
many people who can no longer qualify for a mortgages or for whatever
reason, do not want to own.

Zev Paiss
Nomad Cohousing
Boulder, CO

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