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Co-op housing

Why isn't it more popular in the States? I live in a townhouse, it's a co-op. It means I own the inside of the building but everything outside is owned by the co-op. That means all the common outdoor areas are owned by the co-op, as is the outside of my townhouse. I can do what I want with the inside of the townhouse, renovate it and decorate it as I want. I can sell it whenever I want on the open market, but the co-op owners have first dibs. The co-op is run by a board.

Anyways, I love it. If I get a roof leak the co-op pays for it. If I have to change a window the co-op pays for it. I pay a monthly cost, which includes municipal taxes, cabel tv, internet, house insurance, mowing the lawn in summer and removal of snow in winter. I don't have to think about any of it. It's perfect for me since I'm single and alone.

by Norwegianreply 2602/23/2021

There are co-op buildings in New York City. One of the drawbacks/benefits is that buying a co-op unit requires the approval of a board of members. If they don’t like you, they can find a reason not to sell to you. As long as it not based on race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc... Some “require” a buyer to have the full asking price in cash, in the bank. So if you’re looking at a $3 million unit, you need to have at least $3 million in your bank account. They can be nasty little clubs.

Condominium living is much more common here in the US because it’s a bit more liberal and less gate-keep-y.

by Norwegianreply 102/22/2021

R1 Thanks for your reply. It's the same here in Norway, you need the approval of the board of members. However, it takes a lot not to get approved. I have never heard of them not approving someone. As long as you have the money, you get approved. And it's the job of the realtor and bank to see if you have the money.

Here in Norway co-op housing is important. It was a way to build houses fast after the war, and so everyone could own a house, no matter your income. Home-ownership is a must here. I think like 90 % of the adult population owns a home (with mortgage). Very few people rent. In fact you're kinda looked down upon if you rent and don't own. Anyways, back then they built relatively cheap housing, available for everyone. Today it's very very different. The new co-op housing being built is for people with money, very expensive apartments. Today those with low incomes can only afford a co-op apartment in an older building. The mortgages for the new ones are too high.

by Norwegianreply 202/22/2021

Cooperative living is popular in more urban areas of United States; places like New York City, San Francisco, etc.. places with high density of multi-family housing.

OTOH large areas of USA are suburban, rural, country, or whatever where people simply prefer to live in a private home on property they own free of restrictions that come with co-op living.

by Norwegianreply 302/22/2021

What I would be wary of is a condo board changing its policies over time. Eg, let's say you bought a unit in a place where no short term rentals were permitted, because tht was important too you. And then there is a new board which decides to allow it. Or the opposite: you bought a unit with the intention of it being on AirBNB and then the new condo board forbids it.

by Norwegianreply 402/23/2021

I'm renting a condo in Palm Springs for the winter. Last year the HOA fee jumped from $300 something to $500 something. We have been thinking of buying a condo to winter in but we are hesitant to get into an arrangement where the HOA can jump so much. If we lived here full time it wouldn't be as big of an issue, but paying a high HOA on a place we only stay in 5 months would suck.

Anyway, HOA increases is my concern.

by Norwegianreply 502/23/2021

R5 my land lease in PS keeps climbing each year. It could be a problem for some, but as a hick from FLyoverstan, I look at it as a "privilege fee" for the opportunity to live in such beauty! The house itself is paid for , thank god

by Norwegianreply 602/23/2021

OP

To flip it around one main reasons why anyone who can afford are buying townhouses, mansions or other private homes in cities like Paris, London, New York, etc.. is to get away from co-op boards. People don't necessarily want to subject themselves, spouses, children, and even the pet dog to the intrusive and often nonsensical co-op board approval package and process.

Here in NYC people who have more money than God like Mr. Zuckerberg of Facebook denied white glove co-ops or even new condos the privilege of giving himself and wife the once over. They bought a townhouse instead....

OTOH Jeff Bezos did buy a condo (think more than one unit in building), and of course there is 220 Park Avenue South, so there's quite a bit of range there.....

Co-op, condo or even HOA are fine, if you're on board with those sort of arrangements. Otherwise better off buying a private home on land you own.

by Norwegianreply 702/23/2021

That style of housing is immensely popular in the US, especially for older people who don’t want to have to maintain anything.

by Norwegianreply 802/23/2021

DC has a lot of co-ops and at least one has been a co-op since the 20s. They are often higher end buildings, but many are simple buildings and were either built that way or were converted during the occupant owner push during the 80s. People in co-ops often take a greater role in the building and are less likely to farm out things like taking care of the grounds.

The real problem is that realtors are too dumb to learn the differences between co-ops and condos and the same is true of home buyers. When local blogs have mentions of co-ops, there's always a lot of misinformation and it often comes from people in real estate.

by Norwegianreply 902/23/2021

in my mind, co-ops in east coast cities appear to be the difference makers in unremarkable buildings not turning into "project" slums

by Norwegianreply 1002/23/2021

As I’ve understood it what OP is describing is a condo. I own from the walls in and the condo association takes care of the outside and common areas (that are owned by every unit owner). A co-op is where all the owners own a share in the building. You don’t own your unit per se, but rather if there are 50 identical units in the building you own 1/50th of the whole thing.

by Norwegianreply 1102/23/2021

There have been many reasons for buildings turning co-op. Some were built that way, even recently. Some were very basic buildings that renters were able to buy as a co-op. Some were elegant buildings that went co-op as nearby neighborhoods declined. Lots of variation and at least in DC quite varied prices. You can buy into a simple building in a nice neighborhood for less than comparable condos. Co-ops in well managed buildings are usually cheaper than comparable condos but appreciate at about the same rate.

by Norwegianreply 1202/23/2021

Co-ops often are lower priced, but the monthly maintenance fees are higher than condo HOA fees.

by Norwegianreply 1302/23/2021

Imagine a co-op board made up of Dataloungers! NOBODY would get in.

by Norwegianreply 1402/23/2021

R14 Oh i think there's a criterion that would "sway' votes!

by Norwegianreply 1502/23/2021

R11 is correct. Also, OP, the coop is not "paying" for al those things you mentioned, you are paying, through your monthly fee. And you have little control over how and what gets paid for.

by Norwegianreply 1602/23/2021

Condos and co-ops are not the same thing.

by Norwegianreply 1702/23/2021

What R17 said. When you buy a coop in America, you are not buying the apartment. You are buying shares in the coop, and those shares give you the right to occupy that apartment. You can do what you want with the interior, although some coops have strict rules even regarding interior work if it somehow infringes on the other shareholders. When you buy a condo, you are actually buying that unit outright and you belong to an association (called different things in different states) that guides rules that are generally much less strict than a coop board.

Also, a coop board has the right to turn down any applicant it wants, as in NYC for years coop boards routinely and legally turned down people of color and gays. Many coop boards still turn down applicants, no matter how rich they are, for reasons ranging for snobbery to privacy to financial concerns. Donald Trump, for instance, would not be able to buy a coop in most building in NYC. However, a condo is sold by the owner, and he/she can sell to whomever he/she wants.

by Norwegianreply 1802/23/2021

R18

No, co-op boards did not "legally" discriminate against POC, gays, or in any way contravene federal, NYS or NYC anti-discrimination housing laws.

Because co-ops are private entities and their meetings are not open to public it is very difficult to prove why someone was denied permission to buy shares. Also co-ops in New York do not have to give a reason for denial which adds another layer of secrecy.

Unless someone has proof and or can get someone on the board to come forward (not very likely) to back up claims of discrimination, courts generally will side with cooperative as to reason for blackballing someone. This does not mean things are "legal" just simply not proven.

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by Norwegianreply 1902/23/2021

See:

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by Norwegianreply 2002/23/2021

Advice from an attorney:

"If one of the buyers your board rejected is from a protected class, and there is no one in the building of that protected class, or just a few people, you could conceivably make a claim—either in tandem with the buyer, or on your own, based on association discrimination—that the board is behaving in a discriminatory manner, in which case they'd have to give reasons for the rejection. "

Discrimination cases of all sorts are difficult to prove, usually it is the sloppy, ignorant or those who just blatantly disregard such laws that are caught and easily prosecuted.

OTOH those who know what they are doing and how to go about things are more difficult nut to crack.

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by Norwegianreply 2102/23/2021

R16 I know. I said in my OP that I pay a monthly fee. If something was to happen to the building, it would get covered by the coop, I wouldn't have to pay for it out of my own pocket.

by Norwegianreply 2202/23/2021

[quote]Imagine a co-op board made up of Dataloungers! NOBODY would get in.

I also fear no one would get out.

by Norwegianreply 2302/23/2021

[quote]Co-ops often are lower priced, but the monthly maintenance fees are higher than condo HOA fees.

Co-ops' monthly maintenance fees will include property taxes and utilities though, and that's often why the monthly fees are higher than condos' monthly fees.

But condo association's monthly fees + property taxes + water bill + electricity + cable bill roughly = co-op monthly fees.

by Norwegianreply 2402/23/2021

R11 No, I do own a share in the building and I own everything from the walls in. Everything on the outside is owned by the coop.

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by Norwegianreply 2502/23/2021

R24 You nailed it. My monthly fees include property taxes, municipal taxes, house insurance, broadband for tv and internet etc.

by Norwegianreply 2602/23/2021
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