Your right to live in a housing co-op comes from your co-op membership. In other words, the right to live in a unit owned by the co-op ends once the membership ends.
The co-op act for each province or territory allows housing co-ops to end a co-op membership for valid reasons. Members can be evicted for breaking the co-op’s rules or bylaws (for example, if they stop paying their housing charges).
Ending a co-op membership is a very serious decision that results in a person losing their home. It should be done as a last resort — and only after trying to find other ways to solve the problem.
The co-op eviction process
Evicting a member from a housing co-op unit involves 2 steps. First, the member is notified that their co-op membership is being ended. The co-op then needs to get the unit back from the member.
If an evicted member refuses to leave the unit, the co-op can take legal steps to have them removed. In some provinces and territories, the co-op must apply to the tenancy authority for a legal order to take back the unit. More information on these legal processes can be found in our provincial and territorial co-op fact sheets.
Some co-ops choose to clearly define the eviction process in their rules or bylaws. In these cases, the co-op eviction process must comply with the co-op act and other applicable legislation. The process to end a membership is sometimes called “expulsion,” although that word isn’t used in any co-op act.
Principles of natural justice
If a co-op decides to end a membership, the principles of natural justice must be followed. This means the co-op must:
- not be biased or make its decision for personal reasons
- make sure the member has all the information about why they’re being evicted
- give the member enough time to prepare for meetings related to the eviction
- give the member the right to speak at meetings and to have a legal representative present
If these principles aren’t followed at all times during the co-op eviction process, it may be challenging to end the membership.
If you’re being evicted from a co-op, it’s important to know your rights and obligations — and those of the co-op. Be sure to check the co-op’s rules or bylaws to make sure the proper steps are being followed. The rules or bylaws should also say if and how you can appeal the decision. Talk to a lawyer if you don't understand the rules or if you think you’re being treated unfairly.