Re: Policy Committee & Condo law and Cohousing?
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2019 06:11:23 -0700 (PDT)
Alan —

Sounds like you’re following the same path as Cornerstone.  I am not a lawyer, 
and not qualified to provide legal advice to anyone — especially not in states 
other than Massachusetts.  Even so, I’ll remark that, in my view, most condo / 
HOA enabling legislation is dedicated to balancing the inviolable rights of 
property owners with the rights, m needs and common interests of the community 
association as a whole.  For the latter, the buck must stop (or appear to stop) 
somewhere; typically, this is an elected Board. But beyond that, state enabling 
legislation is entirely indifferent to the essential goals of the cohousing 
lifeway: empathy, reciprocity, sharing, participation and equivalence.  The 
instruments of this lifeway — the consensus process, circles and teams, common 
space and common meals, etc — are typically of no interest to state regulators, 
lenders, insurance agents, and so on.  So long as the docs show adequate 
property and privacy protections, and a Board capable of enforcing them.

Like I said: I’m not an attorney.


> On Jul 16, 2019, at 7:49 AM, Alan O'Hashi via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:
> Annie, Phil, et al. - At my place we're updating our declarations and bylaws 
> by cohousing-izing them, but compliant with state HOA laws. In a nutshell, we 
> have a governing board as required by law called the steering team (ST). We 
> have basically emasculated the ST into a body that coordinates and implements 
> the actions of the community at large.
> The ST consists of a representative of the standing operational teams that 
> deal with the common house, parties, gardens, buildings, finances who each 
> are approved by the community. Action items originate from the community that 
> directs the ST to figure out the details and bring back the final products 
> for three readings. The community approves the actions and the ST reaffirms 
> community decisions. Nothing comes from the ST to the community without first 
> originating in a standing team or from the community at large.
> The Colorado state law - as does all the other states - talks a lot about 
> voting and majorities and super majorities, etc. We took out all references 
> to voting and changed those to decisions and make reference to our decision 
> making community agreements, which are around consensus.
> There are MANY subtleties around insurance, disclosures, conflicts of 
> interest, how dues are determined, the super majorities and other esoteria, 
> that I won't go into here. We've spent quite a bit of time - two years - and 
> money - thousands - going through this with an HOA lawyer who also is 
> comfortable with our work. This isn't typical intellectual property and as 
> such, we're trying to figure out how to let others have access to the 
> documents.
> Thx,
> Alan O
> PS - if all HOAs operated like a cohousing HOA, there would be no need for 
> all the state requirements around how to get rid of deadbeat HOA board 
> members and their criminal behaviors!
> PS2 - to Fred, I resent this because the first time, I forgot to delete the 
> thread 'tail.'
> *******************************************
> Alan O'Hashi - ECOS
> EnviroCultural Organization Systems
> Colorado 303-910-5782
> Wyoming 307-274-1910
> Nebraska 402-327-1652
> ******************************************* 
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