Housing cooperative

A housing cooperative, housing co-op, or housing company (especially in Finland), is a legal entity, usually a cooperative or a corporation, which owns real estate, consisting of one or more residential buildings; it is one type of housing tenure. Housing cooperatives are a distinctive form of home ownership that has many characteristics that differ from other residential arrangements such as single family home ownership, condominiums and renting.

Housing cooperatives fall into two general tenure categories: non-ownership (referred to as non-equity or continuing) and ownership (referred to as equity or strata). In non-equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted subject to an occupancy agreement, which is similar to a lease. In equity cooperatives, occupancy rights are sometimes granted by way of the purchase agreements and legal instruments registered on the title. The corporation's articles of incorporation and bylaws as well as occupancy agreement specifies the cooperative's rules.

In non-equity cooperatives and in limited equity cooperatives, a shareholder in a co-op does not own real estate, but a share of the legal entity that does own real estate. Co-operative ownership is quite distinct from condominiums where people own individual units and have little say in who moves into the other units. Because of this, most jurisdictions have developed separate legislation, similar to laws that regulate companies, to regulate how co-ops are operated and the rights and obligations of shareholders.

In some cases, the co-op follows Rochdale Principles where each shareholder has only one vote. Most cooperatives are incorporated as limited stock companies where the number of votes an owner has is tied to the number of shares owned by the person. Whichever form of voting is employed it is necessary to conduct an election among shareholders to determine who will represent them on the board of directors (if one exists), the governing body of the co-operative. The board of directors is generally responsible for the business decisions including the financial requirements and sustainability of the co-operative. Although politics vary from co-op to co-op and depend largely on the wishes of its members, it is a general rule that a majority vote of the board is necessary to make business decisions.

In the lifecycle of buildings, the replacement of assets (capital repairs) requires significant funds which can be obtained through a variety of ways: assessments on current owners; sales of Treasury Stock (former rental units) to new shareholders; draw downs of reserves; unsecured loans; operating surpluses; fees on the sales of units between shareholders and new and increases to existing mortgages.

Political will dissipated in Canada in the 1990s, however, as other issues occupied politicians and financial belt-tightening by the governments reduced the funds available for the mortgages. In 2004 and 2005, however, the political winds shifted back towards the idea of developing more low-income housing. However, not-for-profit housing co-operatives are committed to the mixed-income concept and have not been able to make much use of the few opportunities that have come available in recent years. Also, the term of many of the government agreements concerning funding for housing subsidies is coming to an end, provoking a debate in individual co-ops and the co-op movement on the extent to which co-ops should continue to be mixed-income forms of housing.

The community charter sets out expectations for privacy. Each apartment is self-contained. Monthly meetings assure the optimal routines of the building and ensure that each person may participate fully and with complete liberty of expression. Plans set out the routine intervention of a mediator who could help get to the bottom of the causes of eventual conflicts in order to allow for their resolution.

Cooperatives have a long history in Metropolitan New York in November 1882, Harper's Magazine describes several cooperative apartment buildings already in existence, with plans to build more and can be found throughout New York City, Westchester County, which borders the city to the north, and towns in New Jersey that are immediately across the Hudson River from Manhattan, such as Fort Lee, Edgewater, or Weehawken.

 

 


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