Why Co-op?


A housing co-operative looks like any other townhouse complex or apartment building. The difference is that each housing co-op is both a business and a community, jointly owned by the people who live there. Housing co-ops are very popular and there is usually a 1-3 year wait for coop housing if you are looking for subsidy. Membership means:

  • Shared responsibility
  • Not-for-profit housing
  • Democratic control
  • Open membership
  • Strong communities

Shared Responsibility‚Ä®
Working together, co-op members share the responsibility of making sure that their housing community is successful. As a member, you contribute your special skills, either by serving on committees or on the board of directors. Living in a co-op will give you the opportunity to learn new skills in workshops and from each other

Not-For-Profit Housing
As a co-op member you share the benefits of housing that is jointly owned. A co-op is not operated for profit and no one can buy or sell their unit. There is no financial gain upon leaving the co-operative. You can live in the co-op as long as you meet the conditions set down in the occupancy agreement with the co-operative

Democratic Control
Members manage the operations of their own co-op, making decisions about goals, community guidelines and how money is spent. As a co-op member, you have one vote at the general meetings where these decisions are made. People may be hired to administer and maintain the co-op but the final responsibility belongs to the membership

Co-ops Welcome Everyone
Everyone is entitled to co-op housing. People of different ethno-cultures, religions, ages and incomes, who are willing to respect the obligations of membership are welcome. When choosing members the co-op considers your skills and housing needs, as well as the needs of the co-op

Strong Community
With the commitment of its members, co-operatives can offer the safety and security of small village living in the midst of our cities and towns. They provide opportunities to meet new people, places for children to play and suites adapted for people with disabilities. Co-ops are often family-oriented, mixed-income communities

Member Responsibilities

Being a co-op member means having control over your housing. It also means you have a responsibility to make sure that your co-op is a well-managed and a pleasant place to live. If you join a co-op, you will be expected to do the following:

  • Buy shares in the co-op
  • Pay a monthly housing charge
  • Attend members’ meetings
  • Participate in the operation of your co-op by
    • Join a committee
    • Run for the board
    • Help with maintenance or
    • Organize social events

Before you apply to become a member, ask yourself if you will have the time and energy to participate in your co-op. The above guidelines are part of the co-operative principles which all co-operatives put into practice

Cost Of Co-op Housing
Co-ops are mixed income communities, therefore some members pay a higher housing charge than others. As a co-op member you will have two costs: a one-time share purchase and a monthly housing charge

Shares must be purchased and an occupancy agreement signed to secure the right to move in. Upon leaving the co-op, shares are refunded at face value (minus any debts or repair costs owing to the co-op). The cost of a share is decided by each co-op. Usually interest is not paid on shares

The monthly housing charge is based on the total cost of operating the co-op. If your income is low, you may be eligible for a subsidized unit. Most co-ops have some subsidized units. Based on the information in your application, the co-op with decide if you qualify. Housing charges may fluctuate based on the financial needs of the co-op.

Above information provided by the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC