Re: Minimum standards for Membership
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 05:32:27 -0800 (PST)
On 12 Feb 2011, at 7:29 AM, Fred H Olson wrote:

>  I have the impression that this
> sort of discrimination is legal, although discrimination on the basis
> of race, religion, gender, and other criteria mentioned in the Fair
> Housing Act is not legal.

Choice is not discrimination unless the choice is based on the race, religion, 
gender, or the other defined categories protected by the housing discrimination 
act. Children is one, I think. 

But that does not restrict one's right to choose to whom to sell. It is often 
said that the difference between condos and coops is that coops can do as they 
please in this respect. This is also not true. Coops cannot make decisions that 
discriminate against people based on these factors either — it's just harder to 
prove because their proceedings are less open and they tend to be smaller so 
patterns are harder to prove. Cohousing patterns would be equally hard to prove 
because sales are less frequent.

That someone wants to buy a unit but is not in the view of the seller or the 
community someone who is interested in cohousing is not yet a legally 
prohibited criterion.

Just because I choose brussels sprouts doesn't mean I'm discriminating against 
spinach. It means I choose brussels sprouts, period.

I'm not a lawyer either, but I read a lot. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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