About Co-ops

What is a Co-op?


Co-operatives offer the safety and security of small village living in the midst of our cities and towns. They provide opportunities to meet new people, places for children to play, and suites adapted for the disabled. Neighbours get to know each other because the work and often play together.


Members share the benefits of not-for-profit operations – co-op units cannot be bought or sold. There is no profit taking by a landlord. Housing chargers are based on actual operating costs.


Residents manage the operations of their own co-ops: they make decisions about goals, community guidelines and how money is to be spent. Each member volunteers to serve on committees or on the Board of Directors and has a vote in general meetings.


Co-op units may not be bought or sold for profit. Members may live in their units as long as they meet the conditions set out in their Occupancy Agreement, the document that serves as an open-ended lease.

Membership in a housing co-operative means:


Members own and control a share of the housing co-operative they live in. Monthly housing charges cover the mortgage payments and operating expenses of the property.


New members are invited to join the co-operative after meeting the selection criteria. Shares must be purchased and an occupancy agreement signed to secure the right to move in. When members leave the co-op, their shares are refundable at face value (minus any debts or repair costs owing to the co-op)


Members share in the decisions about the co-op by voting in general meetings and serving on committees and the Board of Directors. They can contribute their special skills to prepare a budget, publish a newsletter, repair and maintain co-op buildings or provide special activities for children. Members also have the opportunity to learn new skills from each other and in workshops provided by the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia.

Members Rights

Members of a housing co-op have a right to:

  • Vote on the annual budget, which sets the monthly housing charges
  • Elect a board of directors made up of people who live in your co‑op
  • Run for the board of directors yourself
  • Receive audited financial statements that show how the co‑op spent your money
  • Pay only a limited portion of your income for your housing, if you meet eligibility rules
  • Live there for as long as you like, if you keep to the by-laws agreed on by the co‑op membership

Learn More

How Co-ops Works

Our Federation

The Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) is a co-operative association whose members are housing co-ops and related organizations in British Columbia.

Members provide direction through their delegates at Federation meetings, through the Board of Directors elected at the annual general meeting, and by serving on CHF BC committees. This member direction helps CHF BC focus on meeting the needs of housing co-ops.

To learn more about CHF-BC, click here.