Re: Policy Committee & Condo law and Cohousing?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2019 11:50:14 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 17, 2019, at 12:51 PM, Alicia Nowicki <alicianowicki [at]> 
> wrote:
> Henning,
> Could you explain a little about what you mean as vanilla HOA structure?  Are 
> you talking about standard HOA bylaws?r  Or what exactly do you mean by 
> vanilla HOA structure?  If one were to use standard HOA structure there still 
> need to be some changes that explain the concept of CoHousing.  Can you help 
> me understand more fully what you mean and how you have done this vanilla 
> structure you speak of?

State law/regulations/codes will tell you what you must to include. Your lawyer 
can tell you what you must put in to protect yourself legally. Most of the 
requirements in the DC Condo Act also say “unless the condominium documents 
specify otherwise.” That sets a legal default in case the documents don’t any 
mention of something— like assignment of LCEs, who has what votes, etc.

You do not have to include an explanation of cohousing. Put that in a separate 
policy that is easier for you to amend and won’t drive the bank crazy. The 
bylaw are a legal document protecting members rights as Owners and their 

In DC the Condo Act doesn’t even require a board of directors.  It discusses a 
management company. In some states, condos have to be incorporated but in DC a 
condo is considered a "real estate scheme.” Much like a joint real estate 

The exception would be things that members do not want easily changed— no 
alligators as pets, no music that passes through to another unit, rugs on 
floors when requested by neighbors. Stuff that some people have lived with and 
want to protect themselves from.

Ours has provisions that I have found helpful — that owners must take great 
care not to make noise that affects other units — or something like that. That 
all repairs must be of first class quality. One of our engineers said that 
means industry standard, not extravagant. It should be good enough to protect 
the market value of the property.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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