Re: associate membership policies
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 05:42:16 -0800 (PST)
At Mosaic Commons we do have associate members, meaning in this case
non-resident members.

I've posted before about our unusual way of handling finances: we have HOA
fees which are divided up amongst home owners according to the "schedule of
beneficial interest" filed with the state as part of our condominium...and
we have a separate "cohousing budget" which is handled differently: we
collectively come up with a desired budget based on team requests, and then
members pledge toward that budget.  The minimum pledge of 5% of the target

Associates participate in the cohousing pledge process, and don't pay HOA
fees.  So their minimum amount is 5% of average, which this year is about
$5 a month.  In practice, their actual pledges vary from the minimum up to
about $100 a month, depending on what their family can afford and feel is
right.  It's per household, not individual.

Associates have the same rights and responsibilities as residents in the
cohousing group.  They can use the common facilities, are expected to work
on teams and come to work days and so on.  Our group isn't strict about
requirements for anyone, resident or non-resident, so there's no
enforcement.  I'd say associates vary just like resident members -- some
contribute a lot, some not much.

To become an associate you have to be "sponsored" by a member, and the
plenary decides by consensus whether to invite you to join.

>From my perspective, I've been very happy with our associate program.   It
brings more folks into the community who are good fits.  People find their
way here in different ways: some are former residents who have moved out
but still feel connected; some are people who considered buying here but
weren't able to; some are people who were simply friends with someone in
the community and this felt like "home" to them in some way.

Our biggest "problem" with associates was that we were unclear until
recently who was an associate vs. a member.  We had a confusing policy that
treated people differently depending on if they were resident owners (most
of us); non-resident owners (two homes were owned by people who rented them
out to others); resident non-owners (the two families who rented those
homes, and also a bevy of roommates, SOs, etc.); and non-resident
non-owners.  Confusion abounded about things like: if I buy a house and my
boyfriend moves in with me, is he automatically part of my household?
 (membership is by household)  Is his status different than if I have a
roommate who pays me to live with me?  If a renter becomes a member and
then moves elsewhere, are they automatically still a member?  Etc.

We spent a lot of time and energy working out a much clearer policy.
 *MEMBERS* must be residents (;
others are *ASSOCIATES* (

(All this is separate from our HOA, in which membership is clear: it's for
owners, period.  After all, that's what the "O" is HOA stands for :-)


On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 5:42 PM, Martha Wagner <wordbizpdx [at]> 

> Does your community have an associate membership policy that's been in
> effect for at least two or three years? In my community, we don't have such
> a policy yet, but would like to know what other communities have done to
> formalize welcoming relationships with neighbors as well as former owners
> and renters. Here are some questions we have:
> Do your associate members pay a one-time or annual fee per individual or
> family?
> If there is a fee, what does the fee entitle them to?
> Is there a screening process used for people wanting to become associate
> members?
> Can associate members participate in work parties, cooking, etc., and if
> so, do you have them sign a liability waiver?
> Are they welcome to attend your meetings, and if so, do they participate
> in discussion and decision-making?
> Have problems arisen with your policy or is it working well?
> Martha Wagner
> Portland, OR
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