Forming and Running a Housing Co-Op
Forming a Housing Co-op: 2 Steps
1. The Housing Co-op Files Incorporating Documents
Depending on the province or territory, the originating document that creates a housing co-op will be:
- Articles of Incorporation ("Articles"),
- Memorandum of Association ("Memorandum"), or
- Letters of Incorporation ("Letters").
The originating document sets out the primary objectives of the co-op, the requirements on the distribution of shares, and the prohibition of directors and officers benefiting financially from their position. Things like the number of directors that are required to sit on the board of directors are also identified in these documents. To make a change to the Articles, Memorandum or Letters, the members must pass a special or extraordinary resolution, depending on the province or territory.
2. The Housing Co-op Creates Bylaws or Rules
The policies and procedures that outline the purpose of the co-op and describe how it is run are called the "rules" in British Columbia and "bylaws" in all other provinces and territories. Co-ops have the ability to create their own bylaws or rules, as long as they are consistent with the co-op act and human rights laws.
Bylaws or rules typically address topics such as the deposit amount to be paid by members, the housing charge, and the process for recruiting new members.
Members vote to accept or make a change to the bylaws or rules. In most provinces, co-ops must follow a specific procedure to add to or change their rules or bylaws.