how co-ops work

Living in a resident cooperative is different from living in an investor-owned park. This type of community living is unique because the homeowners are not simply tenants, they’re members of a cooperative, owners of a community and managers of a business.

These co-ops, which we call resident-owned communities (ROCs) are democratically managed. Each member household gets one vote, and members elect a board of directors to conduct the day-to-day business.

All ROC residents should understand:

ROC-NH logo

  • Individual homeowners do not own the land underneath their homes; the co-op does.
  • Co-op members own equal shares of the corporation.
  • Homes remain individually owned.
  • Each co-op develops its own rules and policies.
  • Co-op members control all major decisions, such as how money is spent, electing leaders, and setting and changing the bylaws or rules.
  • All decisions are made by majority vote, and each member household has one vote.
  • A board of directors is elected by members to make the co-op’s day-to-day decisions. The board may appoint committees to take on tasks.
  • The board and committee members must adhere to the co-op’s bylaws and rules, as well as to local, state and federal laws. They also are accountable to their fellow members and must run the co-op in a fair, consistent, democratic, and businesslike manner.
  • A co-op’s bylaws are the first place to look for answers on how the ROC should be managed. Some bylaws are regulated by the state, especially the Consumers’ Cooperative Association laws (RSA 301-A).
  • Residents can join the co-op at any time by paying the membership fee.
  • Each homeowner has a lifetime right to occupy their lot, as long as they pay their rent and follow the ROC’s rules.
  • Residents who do not join the co-op pay a non-member rent, which is typically higher than a member’s rate, and set in the ROC’s rules. They do not have the right to vote on co-op matters.
  • Members can be expelled from membership in the cooperative (which does not mean being evicted from the ROC). Members who are expelled typically lose voting privileges and pay a higher lot rent.
  • Members pay a fixed, one-time, fee that is refunded when they move out of the ROC.
  • Membership fees earn no interest.
  • A ROC’s success is directly related to its members’ volunteer participation and commitment.
  • 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 a community barbecue or holiday party, to operating the well system, to a term on the board of directors or a committee.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider. ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.

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