Re: co-op house within cohousing community
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2017 06:52:11 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 17, 2017, at 12:41 PM, Karin Hoskin <karincohous [at]> wrote:
> Does anyone have specific experience with a physical house/unit identifying
> as a co-op *within* your cohousing community?

Please respond to the list as well. I’m interested in this as a governance 

Using the sociocratic circle method of organizing, each of the units in a 
community would be a circle (a decision-making unit). The coop would be one 
circle with a more complex internal dynamic than others with only one owner.

All circles are governed by the community rules for anything that affects the 
whole community. It would have it’s own internal rules. 

Ownership can make things complicated unless it is clearly agreed upon. We had 
one unit that was owned by two people. (They had actually lied about the 
ownership — one was supposed only to be cosigning the bank loan.) One lived in 
the unit for a year or so but then moved to a job in another state. The 
recession then hit. They were both underwater and renting the unit. 

Then one filed for bankruptcy. The one we didn’t know. We were heading for a 
foreclosure in the community but fortunately the renters were able to purchase 
the unit at a discount rate after the court approved it.

Long way around to saying in our experience, such an agreement should have:

1. Clear legally defined ownership and protections for the community so outside 
financial issues affect it as little as possible. 

2. All members of the coop be clearly identified so you know who you are 
dealing with. 

3. All members would be owners so they all would be expected to be community 
members equal in responsibility to other owners.

I would also like to hear about other issues.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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