Housing Cooperatives

What is is housing cooperative?

Housing cooperatives are corporations where the occupants own shares in the corporation entitling them to live in the cooperative and have a vote in its management. The cooperative’s interest in the real estate can be through a variety of legal arrangements, often to maintain the long term affordability of the housing. Sometimes the cooperative owns the land and buidlings and has a deed or sometimes it has a long term ground lease.

Who lives in cooperatives?

Many different kinds of people. Coops are often dedicated to a common purpose. There are high-end and other market-rate cooperatives, artists cooperatives, limited-equity and affordable cooperatives, and mobile home parks. Most successful cooperatives have a common interests that draws the community together.

How many cooperatives are there?

That depends on what you count as a cooperative. There’s a thriving network of informal cooperatives in rented homes and other properties. MAHC focuses on formal legally incorporated housing cooperatives. We can find hundreds in the Secretary of State’s Corporate database but we think there are 150-200 functioning housimg cooperatives in Massachusetts and many more that are moribund or have stop being cooperatives but are still providing housing for residents.

Where are they and how many people live in them?

Pretty much everywhere in Massachusetts where there are multi-unit dwellings. Tens of thousands of Bay State residents live in cooperatives. They represent the full age range and diversity of the Commonwealth.

What are some advantages of cooperatives?

Successful cooperatives are good for their neighborhoods in a number of ways. Cooperatives are Cooperative owners have a stake in their properties and their neighborhoods. Cooperative residents take an active role in maintaining their buildings, generate less litigation, move less often, and provide financial stability to their neighborhood businesses.

How much value do coops represent?

  • Hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and taxes
  • Hundreds of acres of land
  • Hundreds of buildings
  • Millions of dollares in goods and services purchased annually

What is MAHC and why is it important?

MAHC is a not-for-profit “section 501(c)6” organization which seeks membership from ALL branches of the housing cooperative world, from market rate to limited equity to special interest housing cooperatives. Our designation allows us to do political lobbying as well as create networks and resources to support existing and prospective cooperative housing solutions.

Housing cooperatives provide immense community and social benefits to residents and their towns as a whole, and fully deserve initiatives and actions to protect and enhance their viability.