Re: Legality of membership agreements. Is it discriminatory?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 07:28:43 -0700 (PDT)
On Mar 13, 2018, at 8:00 AM, Dick Margulis <dick [at]> wrote:
> As long as you're not discriminating against an individual based on that 
> person's membership in a protected class, you can require that they commit to 
> your principles. You can require that they read specific materials about 
> cohousing, that they attend orientation or training sessions, that they meet 
> with members of the community, and that they agree to abide by rules and 
> policies, including whatever work policy you have in place. You can do all 
> this as long as you agree to waive any and all requirements that someone 
> cannot fulfill on account of a disability.
> In any case, if you envision the process of joining your community as the 
> prospective resident deciding whether it's a good fit rather than the 
> community deciding whether it's a good fit, you'll be headed in the right 
> direction.

(Edited a bit for length.) A very nice statement. This should be engraved in a 
cohousing list of myths debunked.

The one caveat might be what a mortgagee might be nervous about, but these 
fears have also been debunked many times. Sometimes they come from the broker, 
not the bank. Putting them in a policy instead of the bylaws, might make them 
less flag-waving.

Realtors are working in a whole different world than cohousing. One realtor 
told us it was illegal to reveal who had offered a contract on a unit until it 
was final. Say what? We don’t even know who it is? No orientation? No visits to 
meetings, etc.? The rules that govern her and her organization are not the same 
ones that govern cohousing.

Any forming community that doesn’t have someone trolling this list for 
information is proceeding with two hands tied behind their backs.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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