Re: Is communal ownership obligatory for cohousing?
From: Michael Barrett (
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 18:42:08 -0700 (PDT)
Non-availability of Sam's compact pickup truck for sometime community use probably could be resolved as Brian describes. But what happens on more substantive issues: like the property owner wants to harvest the woods - needs the cash. Or declines to spend $20,000 on a needed new roof or heating plant for the meeting hall/workshops? This might be more than merely annoying to community members.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Brian Bartholomew" <bb [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 5:51 PM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Is communal ownership obligatory for cohousing?

For #3 we plan to share the use of meeting halls, workshops, gardens,
and woods, but we don't plan to share the ownership of them.

| Who would/does own them? What happens if that person/entity doesn't
| agree with the wishes/desires of the community members for the
| use/development of those facilites?

Scenario: Community member Sam owns a compact pickup truck, which is
not his everyday transportation.  He uses it rarely, so he loans it to
community members for their errands, as long as they refill it.

Sam wakes up on the wrong side of bed one day and decides to be a
jerk.  For some transparently dubious reason he says that nobody can
borrow the truck anymore.  This annoys community members, who have
come to enjoy having a truck available, and think Sam is being a twit.

People will probably first try to sweet-talk Sam into making his truck
available again, and if that doesn't work and they really miss the
truck, one or more community members will buy another used truck and
go back to the previously-enjoyed sharing arrangement.

However it turns out, Sam has lost social capital.  If Sam is smart he
will apologize quickly and people will forgive him.  But in any case,
Sam's ownership rights have been respected, while the rest of the
community has adapted.
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