What is a housing cooperative?

“A housing co-op is a corporation that exists … to provide housing … to its members.  In a housing cooperative, there is a two-tiered ownership structure: At the top is the cooperative corporation, and below that, the corporation’s owners, typically known as member-owners. The cooperative corporation owns … the housing stock, which includes all land, dwelling units and common areas.  Member-owners purchase stock—sometimes called shares or membership certificates—in the cooperative corporation.  Upon purchasing stock in the cooperative, the member-owner signs a perpetual lease, called a proprietary lease or occupancy agreement, giving the member-owner a legal and exclusive right to occupy a particular dwelling unit, on condition that all obligations to the cooperative are met.”

Excerpted  from Cooperative Housing Tool Box, A Practical Guide for Cooperative Success
Published by Northcountry Cooperative Foundation in partnership with Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund, 2003

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