Re: renter's role in decision making
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:05:45 -0700 (PDT)
I remain unconvinced that name-on-a-deed is a reliable correlate of much of 
anything.  At Cornerstone, we have a few tenants who have been here longer than 
a few owners who came in and then left again after a couple of years.  We have 
two absentee owners who, for all practical purposes, have no relationship to 
the community, and we also have tenants who are regular participants in meals, 
chores, workdays and parties.  For me, living presence on the property counts 
for more than name-on-a-deed or a particular routing of the cash flow.  More 
generally, in America citizenship was long ago divorced from property ownership 
and instead tied to residency; that strikes me as the better approach.

In our plenary / general meeting / full circle, we always try first for consent 
/ consensus.  But if things come to super-majority voting, the voting is done 
as one vote per unit, with a requirement that the owner must be attending the 
meeting; no message-bearers, and no mailing in of proxies are allowed.  In 
other words: If consent / consensus can be found, there is no reason, no 
benefit to the community, for tenants to be excluded from the agreement.  But 
if we fall back to voting (hasn’t happened yet), property rights play a larger 
role.  We do not seek to grade the issues into classes. 


On Jul 30, 2014, at 6:20 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 

> On Jul 30, 2014, at 6:12 PM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]> 
> wrote:
>> More accurately, I think, is that they have nothing, or much less at risk. 
>> In terms of the community income, it doesn't make a difference where the 
>> income is from. If renter is going to move out in a year or two years, 
>> however, they have a very different interest in financial decisions that 
>> will continue to affect the community for a long time.
> Another issue we ran into a few years ago. What happens when two owners and 
> three residents all with voting power don't attend meetings. Our quorum for 
> non-owner related issues was based on the existence of those 5 people all 
> with memberships.
> We changed our quorum for what we call Class 2 decisions because it was 
> harder to get a quorum on community issues than on financial and legal issues.
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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