Re: Sharing Costs in Cohousing
From: Kelly Bachman (happyvalleykellygmail.com)
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 2021 08:38:38 -0700 (PDT)
At Bellingham Cohousing in Washington state, we have 56 adults and 11 kids
living in 33 units in 10 residential buildings of the townhouse style.
Units are 2, 3, or 4 bedrooms. Built in 2000.

Dues cover reserves, utilities, and operating costs such as maintenance,
landscaping, legal, insurance, outside accountant, internet, retreats,
facilitation training, general meeting support like childcare and snacks,
food for 2or 3 community celebrations, Common House expenses such as
staples like flour, spices, and cleaning products, furnishings, play area,
paper and toner for the copier, kitchen equipment and outside cleaning
service.

We have dues, donations and fees. Dues are allocated by square feet.

Fees are for non-participation in workshare, late fees, parking violations,
and participation at meals and/or morning coffee.  Meals cost $5 each and
morning coffee in the CH is a monthly fee based on a quarterly survey of
how much coffee your household usually drinks.

Donations come from use of the CH and CH guest rooms where there is a
suggested donation.

We also use donations for capital items that are used by only a few members
such as the hot tub and a new little dog park as well as “green” upgrades
to utilities that cost more than the replacement of like-with-like which
would be covered by reserves, such as installing solar electricity and heat
pumps instead of gas boilers. Capital project donations vary greatly
according to interest and access to cash. We get pledges to cover the
project before it starts.

We use donations for a Hardship Fund available to provide dues assistance
in the case of a temporary financial hardship.

Our annual budget is $187k of which $76k is for reserves, $55k for
utilities, and $45k for operating.

We occasionally flirt with the idea of making a portion of dues based on #
of people in the household but then decide to stick with square feet for
simplicity.


Kelly Bachman, treasurer
Bellingham Cohousing


On Sat, Oct 2, 2021 at 6:07 AM Ann Lehman <ann [at] zimmerman-lehman.com> wrote:

> *Sharing Costs in Cohousing*
>
>
>
> PDX Commons (Portland, OR, Senior CoHousing) is reviewing how costs might
> be allocated to members.  We are asking how others make this determination,
> what are your dues based on i.e., individuals, sq ft, units, kids, access,
> affordability, maintenance vs. fun etc.). Also and/or other dues you have
> that might not be HOA but help pay for overall expenses.  Can you share
> this with your treasurer or someone knowledgeable?


>

>
>
> *1)    *Cohousing Name_____________________, Location____________________
>
> How many *people* live in your community (roughly)?  ___________How many
> separate *homes* are in your community?  __________ A main building
> includes that includes most homes? _____ Attached building(s) for most
> homes (townhouses, duplexes, etc.)?__________Separate buildings for most
> homes____________________
>
>
>
> *2)  What costs are shared* in your community?  (Select as many as apply)
>
>     a) General operating costs (insurance, property taxes, utilities,
> etc.)___________
>
>     b) Common space costs (furniture, appliances, play equipment,
> etc.)_________
>
>     c) Community costs (food, entertainment, retreats, facilitators,
> etc.)__________
>
>     d) Building repairs and maintenance____________
>
>     e) Capital reserves (for repair and replacement of roofs, walls,
> etc.)___________
>
>     f) Other (please describe)
> __________________________________________________________
>
>
>
> *3) *How does your community *pay for common costs*? (Select as many as
> apply)
>
>     a) HOA fees?______________________
>
>     b) Member dues?____________________
>
>     c) Voluntary donations?________________
>
>     d) Other (please describe)
> _____________________________________________
>
> *4) * If you have *HOA Fees*/*Membership Dues* how do you allocate them? If
> parts of your dues are divided by different criteria, which are parts are
> included for the ways you divide up dues?
>
>     a) Equal share for every unit regardless of
> size_________________________________________
>
>     b) Equal share for every unit of the *same*
>  size__________________________________________
>
>     c) Based on square feet per
> unit_____________________________________________________
>
>     d) Based on the number of people in the community______________ (whom
> is included in this
>
> count?)______________________________________________________________________
>
>      e) Other (please describe)
> _____________________________________________________
>
>
>
> *5)* If you have* Voluntary Donations* as part of you dues do you have
> suggested amounts?
>
>     a) Equal share for every unit regardless of
> size_______________________________________
>
>     b) Equal share for every unit of the *same*
>  size________________________________________
>
>     c) Based on square feet per
> unit____________________________________________________
>
>     d) Based on the number of people in the
> community____________________________________
>
>     e) Other (please describe)
> _________________________________________________________
>
>
>
> *6)*  If you have Voluntary Donations, how do you cover costs if there
> *aren’t
> enough donations*?
>
>     a) Use community
> savings_______________________________________________________
>
>     b) Ask members to donate
> more___________________________________________________
>
>     c) Assess mandatory dues or
> fees_________________________________________________
>
>     d) Other (please describe)
> ______________________________________________________
>
>
>
> *7) * How big is your *annual budget
> (approximately)*?___________________________,
>
>
> a) What part of your budget is for reserves?__________________
>
> b) Does everyone pay the same amount for reserves?_______________  If not
> is it by (by household?_____________ by person?________________
> other?______________________
>
>
>
> 8*)  What else* do you think would be useful to know about how your
> community shares costs?
>
> (Please describe)
> ____________________________________________________________
>
>
>
>
>
> Please return to ann [at] zimmerman-lehman.com
>
> *Ann Lehman, she/her
> **Zimmerman Lehman
> Board Governance Specialist
> **https://zimmerman-lehman.com/ <https://zimmerman-lehman.com/>
> **510.755.5701*
>
> *Yoga Instructor
> Slow Yoga for Savvy Bodies
> **https://zimmerman-lehman.com/slowyoga.htm
> <https://zimmerman-lehman.com/slowyoga.htm>*
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