Re: Developer Model of Co-housing
From: Robin Allison (
Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 15:52:51 -0700 (PDT)
I too would be very interested to hear any experience of cohousing that has 
arisen successfully in this way. 

I come across this situation a lot, where one family owns a property and would 
like to either create cohousing on it, or at least invite others to "share" the 
land and build community there. A transition is required at some stage to 
transfer the ownership and decision-making from the original owners to the 
cohesive group, and even with the very best intentions, it seems that this is a 
very tricky transition. 

If we believe that risk and control need to go together, then the land-owners 
need to keep some control while they are the only ones at (financial) risk. If 
they want to share the risk, they need to also share the control, and if a 
group wants to share the control, as in consensus decision-making, they need to 
also share the risk. Skin in the game, and all that.

If there were successful strategies for making this transition, I think there 
would be a lot more cohousing in NZ. 

Robin Allison
Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood in New Zealand.

-----Original Message-----
From: Cohousing-L [ 
[at]] On Behalf Of Sue Ellen Hiers
Sent: Friday, 4 September 2015 7:51 a.m.
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ Developer Model of Co-housing

Are there any best practices for the situation where one party (call this 
person the developer) owns the land?  My heart wants to be a part of such a 
forming co-ho but my brain says too much is undefined for money to start 
changing hands. And what is defined is unsettling. In fact if I didn't know the 
developers I would not even consider it. 
How can lawyers/consultants/architects, represent both sides of this 
transaction? By that I mean the money changing hands will be used to add value 
to the land (zoning changes, etc) that the members have no title to. Should the 
non-developer members hire their own lawyers/consultants to represent their 
interest? Should liens be put on the land for the value added?  How can the 
group be protected in the event of the developer's death or incapacity? This 
model of co-ho seems ripe for affinity fraud because it appears to be based 
only on trust. Again the owners of the land (who are not professional 
developers) are long time friends of mine so I am not suggesting there is any 
fraud here.I would like to know what others who have faced or are facing this 
model have done.
 Regards, Sue Ellen
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