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Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for CHF BC. Do you have a question about co-op housing that you think should be included in this list? Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like a more specific answer, please contact us.
Non-profit housing co-ops are a form of shared ownership which provides homes to its members who purchase a share and pay a monthly housing charge. The co-operative is established under the Co-op Act. Find out more about life in a housing co-op.
After applying, it takes three months to three years to get into most
Non-profit housing co-ops are mixed communities. Members of housing co-ops come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wide range of incomes. Some members pay a full housing charge. This is often called a "market" housing charge. Other members with lower incomes pay less. This is called a subsidized housing charge. Some units in most every non-profit co-op are subsidized.
Most non-profit housing co-ops receive money from the government (federal or provincial) to help house some low-income members. The housing charge for these units is adjusted to the household’s income. This is often referred to as "rent-geared-to-income" or "RGI" or a subsidized housing charge. The subsidy makes up the difference between what the member pays and the co-op’s normal housing charge. The amount of subsidy is limited. When a co-op’s operating agreement with government ends, the subsidy will also end. Co-ops have to start planning for that future.
If you go to our Co-op Programs info page, you will see that non-profit housing co-ops are funded by different government programs, depending on when they were first developed. The co-ops that have income ceilings are funded under one of the following programs:
- Section 61
- Homes BC
- Six BC co-ops funded under the Federation Co-operative Housing Program (ILM) have income ceilings. These co-ops were developed in the last year of the ILM program, around '92-'93
The dollar amount of the income ceiling varies. Other co-ops, as far as we know, do not have income ceilings.
A share purchase is the share you buy to become a member of a co-op. Usually, one member per unit in a co-op buys a share in the co-op as they are accepted for membership. Each share gives a member a vote in general meetings. Shares range from $1,000 to $7,000 (a typical share purchase is around $2,000).
A share is a little bit like a damage deposit in that you get the money back when you leave the co-op (unless the unit has been damaged in which case the share is used to cover repair costs). However, co-ops do not return share purchases with interest.
Please note that in most co-ops, two months' notice is required prior to moving out. Shares also stand as the co-op's working capital.
CHF BC administers two programs to help people in special need to afford the initial share purchase once they've been accepted to join a housing co-op: the Disability Trust and the Domestic Violence Relief Fund.
A monthly housing charge is like rent. It’s what the members pay each month to live in the co-op. Click here for an explanation of subsidy.
Get full information on how to apply to a housing co-op.
No. Admission to a housing co-op is determined by each co-op. CHF BC does not play a role in the membership process of co-ops. CHF BC provides a directory of co-ops as a public information service.
No. CHF BC's mandate is to provide services to its member co-ops.
People looking for emergency housing can contact the following organizations:
BC Housing 604-433-2218 or 1-800-257-7756
CHF BC is a membership organization and acts on its members' decisions. We provide only the address and sometimes the phone number of member co-ops listed in our co-op directory.
No, co-ops are mixed income communities for people of all income levels. Generally, co-ops house people of low and moderate incomes