Living in a resident-owned community is different from living in an investor-owned park. This type of community living is unique: Homeowners are not simply tenants in a park; they are members of a cooperative, owners of a community and managers of a business. It's important for all co-op members to understand that:
- The cooperative is a business owned by its members. Individual homeowners do not own the land underneath their homes; the co-op does.
- The co-op has member-approved bylaws, which spell out how the business is governed.
- The co-op is democratically governed by a one-member, one-vote system. Each member household has equal decision-making authority.
- Members elect a board of directors to carry out the day-to-day tasks of running a business. The board then appoints committees to take on other tasks.
- Members have control over the “big” decisions, such as carrying charges (rent), electing a board, and amending the bylaws or community rules.
- Members can be expelled from the cooperative (which does not mean being evicted from the community) for obstructing the management of the co-op. This is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly – members who are expelled typically lose voting privileges and pay a higher lot rent.
- The board and the appointed committee members must adhere to the co-op’s bylaws and rules, as well as to state and federal laws. They are also co-op members, and are accountable to their fellow members. They must run the co-op in a fair, consistent, democratic and businesslike manner.
Co-op membership has rewards, rights and responsibilities. The strength of a resident-owned community is directly related to the participation and commitment of its members. By participating in the co-op, members can help reduce costs, build a vibrant neighborhood and grow as leaders. Participation can include everything from baking brownies for the annual community barbecue to operating the well system, and a commitment of an hour a month to a two-year term on the board of directors.
Learn more about cooperatives.
Learn more about how resident-owned communities are governed.
Learn more about how committees work in resident-owned communities.
Learn more about the rights and responsibilities of members of resident-owned communities.
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