Co-op Living: How Do Co-ops Work?

Rooftop FlowersHousing co-ops are independent legal corporations. The people who live in them – the members – run the co-op. We make monthly payments, called housing charges, to cover our share of the mortgage, taxes, and operating costs. No one makes a profit, and this keeps costs down. The monthly housing charges are set by the members at the annual budget meeting in January, and they increase only to meet costs.

You may stay as long as you choose, providing you meet your obligations to the co-op: to pay your housing charges and obey the by-laws. There's no landlord who can evict residents in order to renovate or sell the building.

The members control the affairs of the co-op democratically. Every year, we elect the Board of Directors from among ourselves to govern the co-op. Daily management is done by the staff, who are accountable to the Board. Volunteers contribute in many ways to the operation of the co-op and its quality of life.

The members democratically control their living environment. We have input into decisions about matters such as budgets, parking policies, noise rules, allowable pets, and the use of common areas.

Co-operative living is a lifestyle choice that involves accepting responsibility for running the co-op; in return, members and their families get a sense of community and security. Community living requires tolerance, understanding, and respect for the rights of others, as well as a willingness to participate. Through social, recreational, and work activities in the co-op, you get to know other members.


All co-op members are encouraged to get involved in some way. General Members’ Meetings are usually held four times a year. However, there are lots of other ways you can participate.

Run for the Board of Directors – This is probably the most demanding volunteer role. But serving on the Board also gives you a chance to learn a lot: about finances, legal issues, property management and maintenance, and human resources. Board members are given training and support.

Join a committee or working group – We have many volunteer opportunities, for example Finance, Social, Landscape, and Outreach. You can start your own group if you see a need or want to share your interests.

Serve On Call – Because we don’t have a live-in superintendent, we rely on co-op members to cover emergency calls after hours. Training is provided and an honorarium is paid.

Help out informally – Members help out in many ways such as child care during meetings, taking minutes, delivering notices around the building, grounds clean-up, and just helping out when the need arises.


Windmill Line employs several staff: General Manager, Bookkeeper, Administrative Assistant, Maintenance Coordinator, Maintenance Worker, Caretaker.