Re: Do you wish you had a rental policy?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2012 05:46:20 -0800 (PST)
On 23 Jan 2012, at 1:14 AM, R Philip Dowds wrote:

> What we have trouble with is understanding where non-owners fit into the 
> community culture.  One view is that adult tenants should have the same 
> rights and duties as adult owners, and be integrated into community life as 
> fully as possible.  An alternative view is that it's very hard for an owner 
> to find a good tenant — and would much harder if the landlord imposed 
> cohousing expectations on the pool of candidates.

One place to start might be to distinguish between taking a roommate and 
leasing. In Takoma Village roommates may or may not be involved in the 
community. The owner is responsible to the community and has their own 
agreements with their roommate. They are responsible for the roommate's 
behavior as if they were a guest. Some roommates are invisible, others 
participate. Some are renters and some are relationships. We wouldn't 
necessarily know which.

When owners are not in residence, they lease their units. People who lease 
units are expected to behave as the owners would — participate in community 
events, workshare, etc. They become Associate Members and participate in 
community decisions that don't involve money or legal obligations. Only one set 
of leasing residents has not done this. (Our leasing policy is on our website.)

One household has had continuous au pairs who stay for a year since we moved 
in, for example. Some participate fully, some we hardly know. Two have returned 
to visit and have continuing independent friendships with other residents.

The tension with people who are leasing is that we and they get attached and 
then have no place for them to live if and when the owners return. This makes 
it difficult.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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