Re: charging for common house events
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 08:27:51 -0700 (PDT)
On 26 Aug 2011, at 12:50 AM, Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah wrote:

> Is our practice similar to yours, or do you charge more, or less, for  
> such uses of your common house?

We don't charge specific amounts for anything. We request donations from 
"outside" groups, but a group sponsored by a member is not considered an 
outside group.

I don't think we have had any events that people were charged to attend but I 
think we would negotiate a fee or percentage for that unless it was a charity 
benefit or something. But we don't like to have events that are publicized to 
the general public. Usually groups are membership organizations that someone 
belongs to and the location is only published in a newsletter — or I would put 
my unit number on the announcement so anyone looking for an event to cause 
trouble or demonstrate against something would think it was held in a private 
home and not attend.

We require a community member to be at all events held in the CH. Some of us 
think they should stay for the whole event but some don't. The member is 
responsible for answering questions, proper use of equipment and the kitchen, 
clean up, etc. Our CH is also an entrance to the upper corridors so it is a 
security risk to have odd groups here. We have found people wandering around 
for no good reason or closeting themselves in the office using the computer, 
fax, and telephone.

We have NVC and Spanish conversation groups that meet every week that include 
non-members but are really for the benefit of members but they need enough 
people to pay the instructor. We don't change for those.

The agreement when we moved in was that we have smaller units because we can 
entertain in the CH as we would entertain at home if we had larger houses. So 
charging for birthday parties, etc., wouldn't even be considered. But we also 
have a rule that if an event is to be repeated, the person has to post it for 
objections from the community. That prevents someone from using the CH 
repeatedly for non-personal events and not paying a donation.

Members' offices have held all day retreats here and they do make donations but 
I doubt if it is more than $100. We have a suggested $25 a night donation for 
the guest rooms. We budget $1,000 for Misc Income annually but some years have 
received $4,000+. Some of us don't make donations for the guest rooms for 
people that we would normally host at home if we had more room. 

I think everyone collects for the guest rooms from people we would not 
personally host — people who have contacted us because we are cohousing or they 
know someone who knows someone. Or people on expense accounts. I received $400 
from a friend who said she was allotted $200 a day for stays in DC. (Yes, it 
has been suggested that we run a B&B.)  A member has to sponsor all guest room 
guests but we have two members who like to do that so we refer non-friend 
requests to them. (I'm a terrible host so I rarely use the rooms.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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