The Role of Housing Associations

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A housing cooperative (housing association or building association), is a cooperative with the aim of providing their members with affordable housing. The housing cooperative is part of the family of cooperative societies

Because of the principle of voluntary and open membership, and the process of cooptation (membership is a privilege not a right), the housing cooperative is a form of intentional community. Even though the intensity of collective life varies greatly from one coop to another depending on the commitment of individuals.

The cooperative provides approximately twenty percent equity so that it can make a bank loan sustainable. These capital contributions are made through each of the initial cooperators, the initial contribution is in the form of purchase of shares. If a member has sufficient capital to fund all of his housing needs, it can then be fully paid, without interests linked to the cooperative.

The cooperative requires equality for their members with regard to the use of cooperative institutions. A cost rent clause in the contract or the terms and conditions are not excluded automatically by the disappearance of the flat profit. The cooperative relationship of trust includes the right of the member, a reduction of the user charge for defects or nuisance.

Each month, the tenant-cooperative member pays a fee to the cooperative. It is composed of acquisitive units (in the usual case, if the member has not fully paid share) and the part concerning the charges of the building. As the co-operator acquires more units each month he will recover associative units upon leaving the cooperative, thus saving.

A common purpose room is generally arranged in a building. Facilities are made for the possible organization of various workshops, provisions are also often made to allow the organization to arrange other communal activities.

The legal situation of members who use an apartment only differs slightly from normal tenancy, the use of contracts is treated as leases. After the death of the tenant of a dwelling leased by a housing association an heir will take over, even if the use of money is tied to a membership.

The user of a cooperative apartment is required to behave responsibly, as is the case under the civil code. Unprofessional conduct by members can lead to expulsion of a housing association.

Most cooperative housing estates are built with direct or indirect support from the public sector. Even after the expiry of this support, thanks to the principle of non-profit, low cost they continue to fulfill important social functions (social and cultural integration, strengthening of civil society). The possible instruments of housing subsidies are varied, depending on the city or region.



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