The main difference between non-profit housing co-operatives and non-profit housing corporations, is that co-operatives are governed by their members. They are democratic communities where the residents make decisions on how the co-operative operates. The tenants also sign an occupancy agreement (member agreement in Quebec).
Members, the board and staff each have responsibilities to the co-operative, as shown here:
While tenants in rental housing sign a lease, most co-operatives will require new members to sign an occupancy agreement. In Quebec, new members will sign both a lease for the rental of their dwelling and a member agreement.
The occupancy agreement is a legal contract between the co-operative and the new member that sets out the following:
- What obligations the new member has in exchange for the right to live in the unit.
- What obligations the co-operative agrees to fulfill for the member as a resident.