Re: A waiting LIST or a waiting POOL?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 08:55:22 -0700 (PDT)
On 26 Jun 2012, at 11:34 AM, Don Benson wrote:

> Suggest you might be at risk in "choosing" in that activity can be 
> interpreted in a variety of ways.   Since the '60s choosing seems to be 
> singularly seen from the outside as thought of as a way to discriminate 
> against those that are not the norm, as in race, sexual orientation, etc.

I agree. The idea of it is sort of anti cohousing.

In a conversation off-line, I learned that this is a coop structure in which 
the members do in fact approve the purchaser. Owners only own shares in a 
corporation-like legal entity that actually owns the property. Ownership of 
shares comes with the right to occupy an apartment.

Many more things are under direct control of the coop than in a condo. It is 
almost impossible to enforce fair housing laws in coops, for example. They 
never have to give reasons for refusing to sell to an individual — any many 
banks won't finance them. Since many banks have large depositors living in 
coops, however, the wealthy coops have no problem.

It helps to understand the difference, I think, if you know the 
history.Manhattan still has a huge number of coops. In the early part of the 
century huge social changes took place and after the Depression many family 
fortunes were lost. The huge palaces were no longer sustainable as single 
family homes. Sharing one's home with strangers was obviously unacceptable and 
they were not always divided into separate apartments, though many had already 
been occupied by extended families and had wings for individual families. The 
solution was forming partnerships with friends and acquaintances of the same 
social class. Servants might also be shared allowing them to be kept.

Many coops continue to limit new sales of shares to the "right" people. One 
common rule, for example, is that owners may not mortgage their shares, or may 
only mortgage a certain percentage like 40% of share value. Shares may never be 
advertised as available or only sold through certain brokers who only propose 
the right kind of people. (Watch HGTV.)

So as a coop, this cohousing group will be facing questions that condos can 
more easily steer clear of.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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