Forming and Running a Housing Co-Op
Eviction/Expulsion of Members
A member's right to live in a unit comes from his or her membership in the housing co-op. The right to live in a unit ends when the membership ends.
Co-ops can end or "terminate" a membership under the co-op act for the province or territory in which the co-op is located. This section provides an overview of:
- terminating a membership;
- the principles of natural justice; and
- when landlord and tenant legislation applies.
Terminating a Membership
Terminating a membership is a serious decision, resulting in the loss of someone's home. The process is sometimes called "expulsion", although this word is not in the Act. Expulsion or termination of membership means losing the right to live in a unit owned by the housing co-op.
The process for expelling or terminating a member's membership involves two steps:
- terminating the member's membership; and
- getting the unit back from the member once his or her membership has been terminated.
A co-op should use termination of membership as a last resort, only after trying other ways to solve the problem.
The grounds for eviction and the process that must be followed will either be listed in the co-op's rules or bylaws or the provincial / territorial legislation. If the eviction process is specified in the co-op's rules or bylaws, it must comply with applicable legislation.
The co-op, its board and its members must make sure that:
- The member has all of the information about the reasons why the board wants to have him or her evicted. The member must be given enough time to prepare for any meetings.
- The member must have a right to speak at the meeting and to have a representative or lawyer present.
- The co-op, its board and its members are not "biased" or making their decision for personal reasons.
If the co-op, its board and its members do not follow the "principles of natural justice" during any part of the process to evict a member, then the member may be allowed to stay in the co-op.
When terminating a membership, it is important to carefully follow all of the steps required by law. To help both co-ops and members understand their obligations, we have provided a detailed overview of the legal process for each province and territory in the Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets.
Note: If a member refuses to vacate the premises after being evicted from the co-op, the co-op must take legal steps to remove the member from the housing unit they occupy. In some provinces, the co-op must apply to the rental authority for a legal order that gives the co-op the right to take back the unit. The Provincial and Territorial Fact Sheets have more information on this topic as well.
Members: Check to Ensure that the Correct Procedures are Followed
Members who are having their membership terminated should check their co-op's bylaws and the provincial co-op act to see if the co-op has followed the correct steps for termination. These documents also say whether the member can appeal the board's decision to the members, and will explain this process. Talk to a lawyer if you don't understand these rules or you think you are not being treated fairly.