Re: Counting the # of Residents for Calculating HOA Dues in a Condo Building
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2021 14:05:13 -0800 (PST)
> On Nov 28, 2021, at 10:19 AM, Alice Alexander <aliceanne4 [at]> 
> wrote:
> A question for those cohousing communities that live in a condo or
> multiresidential building, and jointly meter utilities and building costs
> (or anyone who knows of other communities that are similarly structured):
> How do you count the # of residents in each condo for the purposes of
> calculating HOA dues? 

When I first heard about communities charging costs by number of residents, I 
looked at our expenditures. By far the greatest expenditures are for the costs 
of maintenance and operations of buildings and grounds. This is what condo fees 
are spent on. It is more direct to charge these costs to square footage. There 
are some expenses that non-cohousing condos don’t have but they are a minuscule 
part of the total and can be argued to equivalent to other costs that they do 
have. And more and more condos have the same amenities that cohousing has 
except the expectation of socializing. Kitchens, dining / meeting rooms, 
exercise rooms, toy rooms, etc.

Size of unit does not seem to be related to the number of people living in it. 
We have 3 and 4 bedroom units with 1-4 people, 1 bedroom units with 1 or 2, and 
half our 2 bedroom units have 2 and the other half 1. Occasionally 3. But I 
can’t find one budget line item that changes predictably according to the 
number of people in the unit.

Some intentional communities provide amenities based on per person like meals, 
but unless it is an ongoing daily expenditure, it would still be dwarfed by 
costs of operating the physical plant.

What is predictable is the cost per sq foot when repairs are needed. Our 
formula could be more equitable, but doing it by some number equal to square 
footage seems to be the most direct. That’s where the money goes. 

I have yet to find any formula for the equitable sharing of common expenses. 
And I’ve looked. The only clue is that so many condo have cookie cutter floor 
plans in sets of 2-3 bedrooms and set fees based on that — so it is easier to 
apportion costs — heading off the argument before it gets started. When anyone 
contests their fee as inequitable when compared to another unit, the courts 
support the right of the developer who set up the SF and % interest tables to 
make personal judgements about the value of the view as one determiner of costs.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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