Diverse Group Cheering

About Co-op Housing

What is a Housing Co-op?

A housing co-op is a legal association formed for the purpose of providing homes to its members on a continuing basis. A co-op is different from other housing associations in its ownership structure and its commitment to co-operative principles. Co-op housing offers a home, not an investment.

Who Lives in Housing Co-ops?

There are about a quarter of a million people living in housing co-ops across Canada. Co-op communities are made up of all kinds of people - people with different backgrounds and incomes and special needs. People who live in housing co-ops are referred to as members, not tenants.


How Does a Housing Co-op Work?

  • Co-ops are member-owned and controlled

  • Co-ops provide an affordable option to main market housing and are an alternative for people on moderate incomes

  • Co-ops are democratically run and each member has a vote


What are the Responsibilities of Housing Co-op Members?

  • Pay a monthly housing charge

  • Attend members' meetings

  • Participate in running the co-op

  • Elect from among themselves, a board of directors to manage the business of the co-op

  • Approve the annual budget and set policy

  • Set the monthly housing charges (rent) to cover the costs of running the co-op


As a co-op member, you have security of tenure. This means that you can live in your home for as long as you wish if you follow the rules of the co-op. What sets co-ops apart from private rental housing is that they are democratic communities where the residents make decisions on how the
co-op operates.


What are the Rights of Housing Co-op Members?

  • Voting on the annual budget

  • Electing a board of directors

  • Running for the board of directors

  • Receiving audited financial statements

  • Enjoying a sense of belonging and community


​How do I Apply to a Housing Co-op?

SACHA is not involved in the placement or application processes of its member housing co-ops. To get in touch with the co-op(s) you're interested in, visit our Co-op Directory.


  1. Decide which co-op(s) you wish to apply to because each co-op has its own application

  2. Contact co-op(s) directly to find out how to apply. Some co-ops hold information meetings where you will find out more about that co-op, can ask questions, and can pick up an application. You may be placed on a waiting list if no units are available at the time you apply.​

  3. The co-op will consider your application based on criteria that will always include:

    • agreeing to take good care of your home

    • a willingness to live in a diverse community

    • demonstrated financial responsibility

  4. The co-op will always check references as part of your application.

Following the completion of an application, you may be invited to an interview where you will be asked some questions. You will also have your rights and responsibilities of living in a co-op explained to you.


What is Subsidy?

Government (federal and/or provincial) funding that is available to non-profit housing co-ops to help with subsidizing a certain number of housing units.


How does Subsidy Work?

The housing charge for these units is adjusted to the income of the household. If a household qualifies for a subsidy, their housing charge is usually set at 25-30% of the household's income plus charges for utilities.


Who is Eligible to Receive Subsidy?

While some co-ops offer subsidy to help applicable members pay their monthly housing charges, this is not available at every housing co-op. Co-ops that do offer subsidy have criteria and income requirements that must be met to qualify. As subsidy criteria will vary amongst co-ops, please contact the housing co-op directly to learn more about subsidy options.