What is Co-housing?


Cohousing Projects

‘Cohousing’ is a term which can be used for a variety of different situations and therefore can be understood to mean different things to different people. So what is a co-housing project? At Cohabitas we define a co-housing project as having the following features:
  • Unlike a group of people who come together to rent an existing property, people joining a cohousing project are prepared to put in a considerable amount of time and effort to achieve their aims. While doing so they will come to know the other members of the community well and they will hopefully end up living in a community of good friends.
  • They consist of a group of people who get together to design and then manage a community which meets their particular needs. It could be a group of retired and/or single people, or a group of families, or a group with a particular religion or philosophy. Sometimes it is simply a group of people who want to live in their local area and in a more communal way than most of us currently do.
  • The plan will be that the individuals and/or families who make up the community will have a balance between private and communal space. At one end of the spectrum they may have entirely separate houses or flats and share just a few spaces, such as laundry facilities or a garden. Or they may have much less private space and share, perhaps, a living room and kitchen facilities, with just a bedroom and en-suite as private space.This is the sort of thing the group needs to discuss and agree upon. It doesn’t have to be a one-size fits all, but equally needs to have some consistency of accommodation options to create a sense of community.
  • The project usually owns its own property communally, although it is sometimes possible for some residents to wholly or partially rent their share; again, this is something for the group members to decide upon.
  • Many projects involve a complete new build, which gives the greatest opportunity for each member of the community to have exactly what they want. However, it is also possible to buy and convert an existing building – this may involve more compromises but is likely to be achievable in a slightly shorter time-scale.

Cohabitas is the leading house share and flatshare website for people over 40. Sharing someone else’s home can be a great way to get to know someone or a group and as a step towards creating a more permanent co-housing arrangement together. Buddy-ups with like-minded people can also be a good way to start; each person being on equal footing in the rental of a flat together.

Related links:
The North London Older Women’s Co-Housing Group


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