Re: Guest rooms? / Common House access?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 16:56:11 -0700 (MST)

On Tuesday, November 4, 2003, at 05:04 PM, Fred H Olson wrote:

1. If you have guest rooms in your Common House, how many do you have and
how often are they actually used, say over a year's time?

We have two that share a bath. Use has picked up significantly over time to the point where three years in, they in use most of the time. Most of the visitors are guests of residents but some are people we host for the community at large. We just hosted two actors who were performing at the theater next door. Cohousing people come through often.

Scheduling has become a lot of work for the person who does it and we have had to institute check out times (12:00 noon) to keep things coordinated. It is hard to get sheets washed in time for the next guests sometimes. (Each host is responsible for the sheets for the next guests.)

But you should also ask about the structure of the community. We are apartments, not single family houses. We do not have "extra" bedrooms or large living rooms with pull out sofas. We do have 3-4 bedroom townhouses but I think they use the guest rooms as much as anyone else. We haven't done a formal use survey.

The current discussion is over charging for use of the guest rooms. Some feel that charging is like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul and that use of the guest rooms should be included in our condo fees. Others feel that our condo fees will get too high if we don't charge for the guest rooms (and laundry). It's easy money, why not? Sort of the Bush/Reagan rationale. We do ask for donations and everyone (I think) agrees that these are appropriate when we host community at-large guests. Donation range is $25-35 I think.

2.  How do you handle the availability of the Common House for your
community? For example, does everyone have a key, or is the Common House
routinely open on certain hours and one person is responsible for
unlocking and locking the doors?

Our commonhouse is always locked. Everyone has keys and the code to the security system. It is always available. We are an urban community so not locking it would not be possible. It also serves the entrance for almost half of our units so access is necessary. We do have people in and out of the commonhouse at all hours of the night and day.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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