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What legal form will CoHousing Houston take? 

Right now we’re a development Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) but when we purchase our units, the community structure will convert into a Home Owners’ Association (HOA). 

HOA: the legal entity that sets and enforces rules and regulations within a planned development. It’s structure is derived from the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) that homeowners sign when they purchased property within an HOA.  

CC&Rs: these are the legal agreements between property owners and the HOA, they typically govern areas of responsibility for the HOA and the homeowner. 

How is a cohousing HOA different from any other? 

Both types of HOAs share the basic structure and governing documents. An HOA in cohousing, however, will often differ in its governance structure as most communities choose to make decisions by consensus rather than majority vote. In addition, most cohousing communities add a layer of governance in the form of community agreements.  

Community Agreements: most cohousing communities come together to decide how they would like to build relationships in the community by working together, eating together, and being respectful of others’ private space. As many amenities are shared in cohousing, most communities craft policies that set common expectations for each community member. As opposed to CC&Rs that are enforceable via fines or liens, community agreements tend to work as ways of codifying the culture and tradition of a cohousing community. 

Does an HOA have fees? 

Yes, HOA fees are a reflection of the shared costs to the community. In the case of a condominium, the community pays for external maintenance and repair as well as insurance to cover the areas outside of your home. These, along with community-decided expenses, would constitute the HOA fees for a cohousing unit. Some people moving from a single-family home will find that costs they previously paid from savings or personal insurance will now be paid through a single community fee. People moving from another condo development may not see much of a change.  

Do we have an estimate of the fees? 

The range will depend on final design and construction decisions as well as how the community decides to allocate other shared costs. In a consensus-decision environment, each household will provide input about how costs should be allocated. A range of estimated fees will be made available when we are under construction and the final fee will be determined at closing. Every year, cohousing communities reassess their operating budgets and come to consensus about the HOA fees for the coming year. Unlike other HOAs, cohousing members have a high amount of input into the setting of the HOA fees.  

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