Life in a housing co-op

What is a housing co-op?

  • A legal association of members
  • Members own the co-op, the co-op owns the housing
  • Members work together to create a viable business and a co-operative community
  • A co-op is a home, not an investment
  • Goal is security of tenure, not equity

 What the co-op will expect from you:

  • Pay your housing charges on time
  • Follow the co-op’s rules and policies
  • Keep your unit in good condition
  • Be a good neighbour
  • Get involved in the co-op

All co-ops, including housing co-ops, are guided by the co-operative principles:

  • open membership
  • democratic member control
  • economic participation
  • independence
  • co-operative education
  • co-operation with other co-operatives
  • community.

Who lives in co-ops?
Housing co-ops are mixed communities. Members of housing co-ops come from a variety of backgrounds and have a range of incomes. Some members pay the full housing charge. This is often called a "market" housing charge. Other members with lower incomes pay less. This is usually called a subsidized housing charge or rent-geared-to-income.

What is subsidy?
Most non-profit housing co-ops receive money from the government (federal and/or provincial) program that helped develop them.  The subsidy helps the co-op subsidize a certain number of housing units so that the housing charge for these units is adjusted to the income of the household. If a household qualifies for a subsidy, their housing charge is usually set at 25-30% of the household’s income plus charges for utilities.

How do I apply for co-op housing?
Most co-ops have waiting lists. These lists are particularly long for people who need subsidized housing. The standard wait to get into a housing co-op is between three months and three years.

View a list of co-ops accepting applications on our Find a Co-op page.

Frequently asked questions about housing co-ops.
Applying for co-op housing.