About Co-op Housing

A co-operative is a democratic organisation, controlled by its members with the goal to bring common benefit for its members.

Co-operatives are part of world-wide network that covers many sectors of the economy including banking, health care, farming, car and sporting clubs, housing and much more.

Co-operative housing includes rental models and models in which members have a stake in the cooperative’s equity; models with a large degree of self-management and others that are highly professionalised; models that are very closely aligned with the social and public housing sectors and others that are completely autonomous.

Co-ops are run by members, for members.

What is a housing co-op?

A housing co-operative (housing co-op) is a community of people who voluntarily work together to meet their common need for affordable and sustainable housing.

Members live in separate dwellings but actively participate in the management and running of the housing co-op as a whole, with opportunities for all members to participate in the co-op, according to their capacity and ability, and enjoy the many benefits this type of housing offers.

Housing co-op models

Co-operative housing includes rental models and models in which members have a stake in the cooperative’s equity; models with a large degree of self-management and others that are highly professionalised; models that are very closely aligned with the social and public housing sectors and others that are completely autonomous.

Co-operative rental housing

Co-operative rental housing is a community-led form of social housing where the housing is run by the people who live in it. Co-operatives provide community housing in the way that people want to live, they can ‘rent like they own’.

Simply put, people like to live in housing co-operatives. Many people will choose to stay in their co-operative through various life changes. There is an intentional mix of people in housing co-ops, which contrasts with many types of community housing. From a first home through to retirement, co-operative communities remain a popular choice for long term residents.

What are the benefits of housing co-ops?

Housing co-operatives foster a strong sense of community, pride and belonging. More than just a roof over their heads, co-op members experience a range of empowering social benefits which include:

  • Connected, pro-social communities
  • Increased sense of health and wellbeing
  • Strong networks of support
  • High level custodianship of their properties and neighbourhood
  • Increased skill and confidence
  • Reduced isolation
  • Increased participation in education and employment

Housing co-ops are intentional and vibrant communities made up of like-minded people actively working together, selecting new members, making local decisions, maintaining properties, learning new skills, and contributing to their community. All members actively contribute and benefit through security of tenure, local decision making and control and self-management of their housing co-op.

Co-operative housing providers…

Are affordable housing providers

In Australia and overseas, housing co-operatives have been effective financial managers of housing for decades because tenants have a sense of ownership and control in their management.

Provide decent homes for key workers and first-time buyers

Develop affordable housing to deliver new dwellings for key workers and other moderate income earners.

Is a model of housing that pools people’s resources and builds strong communities

The long-term involvement of tenants with their homes and their community is beneficial to people providing a sense of place and commitment. In addition, the skills developed in operating their own enterprise assist with confidence building that often leads to employment and a more varied income stream.

Puts tenants in control of their homes

In addition to social benefits, housing co-operatives can deliver services effectively and efficiently while increasing consumer choice and control.

The co-operative housing model is highly diverse, but is first and foremost an ownership structure which can complement varying degrees of resident self-management, co-housing, co-design etc.

What is co-operative housing?