Cooperatives provides you comfortable, High-Quality living at a reasonable cost.

Cumberland FAQ

Question About Living In Cumberland Green Cooperative.

A housing cooperative is formed when people join on a democratic basis to own or control the housing facilities in which they live. Usually, they form a not-for-profit cooperative corporation. Each month they pay a fee to cover their share of the operating expenses. The benefits of choosing joint homeownership are personal income tax deductions, lower turnover rates, lower real estate tax assessments, controlled maintenance costs, and resident participation and control.

As a not-for-profit corporation, the cooperative is not allowed to make a profit, so any funds left over at the end of the year are put into the reserve account or used as income for the next year to reduce the monthly carrying charges for the following year.

Yes. Co-ops pay taxes on the same basis as other businesses. In states, taxes are levied. After all, they recognize that coops produce low revenue because they are nonprofit and the service they provide to lower-income households.

The primary objective of every cooperative is to help improve the quality of life of its members. Towards this end, the collective shall aim to:

(a) Provide housing to its members to enable them to attain increased income, savings, investments, productivity, and purchasing power, and promote among themselves

(b) Provide optimum social and economic benefits to its members.

(c) Teach them efficient ways of doing things cooperatively.

(d) Propagate collaborative practices and new ideas in business and management.

(e) Allow the lower-income and less privileged groups to increase their ownership in the wealth of the nation; and

(f) Cooperate with the government, other cooperatives, and people-oriented organizations to further attain any of the primary objectives.

In a cooperative, membership and joint ownership are open to all that want to use its services. Generally, there is a small membership fee paid initially to the co-op by a member. To ensure democratic control, each member has one vote, regardless of his investment or use of electricity. A cooperative’s non-profit status is generally spelled out in the bylaws and sometimes by the state law under which it is incorporated.

The cooperative owns and maintains the standard appliances in each unit. These include a refrigerator, range, microwave, and dishwasher. In Cumberland, the washer and dryer hookups are available for your privately owned washer and dryer. A laundry room is provided in the clubhouse.

With the advice of the finance committee, the board of directors sets the annual budget to meet expected operating expenses and appropriate fund reserves. The board and committees are made of cooperative members, so the people setting the budget and monthly fee are people who will also be affected by the fee!

Typically, increases occur only when maintenance costs, insurance, taxes, and utilities. The master mortgage interest rate is locked in for the long term and is unlikely to increase while you are a member. The fee includes payment into fund reserves to protect against sudden increases in operational costs, so your prices remain relatively predictable and reasonable. You can help keep the growth down by conserving the utilities.

Fees won’t increase in a cooperative as they might in a rental or other for-profit housing, where rates represent whatever the market will bear to maximize profits for the building owner.

Question About the Board Of Directors

Boards of directors in cooperatives are mostly comprised of at least three members. A delegation of directors typically has more than one member so that the directors can consult and monitor each other more effectively. Directors are generally part of the cooperative’s membership, but non-member directors can also offer independent advice to the board. In Cumberland, you will find that we have 5 Board members as per our by-laws.

Nominating petitions for the board may be picked up at the management office during regular business hours on the date in the notice to the members.  The petition must be completed and returned to the management office by the end of the day listed in the information.

No member shall be eligible to vote or be elected to the board of directors who is more than 30 days delinquent in payments due Cumberland Green Cooperative under the Occupancy Agreement.  All member fees must be paid.

A board of directors can be composed of internal members and external directors. The latter option must be included in the bylaws. Cooperatives tend to have external directors to benefit from their previous working experience and independent view on cooperative issues. It can also be the case that only members can be elected to the board.

There is no single rule governing how long a director can serve on the board. Some cooperatives elect or re-elect a new board annually, but most have a two or three-year term.

Board members are elected to run the cooperative on behalf of its members. They usually appoint or elect an executive committee to manage the cooperative. In addition, the board of directors is responsible for the direction of the cooperative and complying with ethical and legal standards.

Question About Member Voting Rights

All members have the right to vote at the annual meeting for board members’ elections and any other questions brought before the membership. For each unit, there is only one vote on each question. Only one member from each team can be counted for the quorum.

No member shall be eligible to vote or be elected to the board of directors who is more than 30 days delinquent in payments due Cumberland Green Cooperative under the Occupancy Agreement. ll member fees must be paid

A member may appoint only a member of their immediate family as their proxy. (18 years of age or older) except that an unmarried member may nominate any other member as their proxy. According to the by-laws, any broker must be filed with the cooperative’s secretary before the meeting. The secretary will post the dates and times on the notice they will be available.

No member shall be eligible to vote or be elected to the board of directors who is more than 30 days delinquent in payments due Cumberland Green Cooperative under the Occupancy Agreement. All member fees must be paid.

In no case may a member cast more than one vote by proxy in addition to their voice.

Holding an online AGM in cooperatives is legally possible. The criteria for an electronic AGM are written in the bylaws of the cooperative or approved policies by the board.

Electronic voting can mean using online voting software or a voting machine. To make online voting possible and legal in your cooperative, electronic voting must be specified as an option in the bylaws or approved by the board of directors’ policy. A resolution or amendment should be sufficient to include online voting. The specifics of online elections, such as the requirements and processes, should also be detailed in the bylaws.

The By-Laws may be amended by the affirmative vote of most of the entire members of record at the Annual General Meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose. The board of directors may propose an amendment or a petition signed by at least 20% of the members. A description of any proposed amendment shall accompany the notice of the Annual General Meeting or Special Meetings at which such proposed amendment is to be voted upon.   

Additional Question

Cooperatives, like any other organization, must have some rules to avoid chaotic situations. The major difference between a cooperative and other housing options is that the people making the rules also live at the cooperative and must abide by them. Therefore, the rules adopted are not arbitrary or unnecessarily strict. They are designed to address real issues and protect all members’ investment and quality of life. If a rule or policy no longer seems appropriate to a majority of the members, it can be changed through the democratic governance of the board of directors

Commitment to community and involvement are THE major differences between cooperatives and other housing types. Members come together to act collectively to achieve goals — one of which is to reduce the costs of everyday management, maintenance, and repair, and another of which is to provide plenty of activities and opportunities for socializing. Although participation on committees is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged. With multiple committees available, there is sure to be one that suits your unique expertise or interests and on which you would enjoy volunteering. It is also fun and rewarding.

Pets are allowed at Cumberland.  contact the office for more information.

Yes, the member still owns the membership share and is responsible for the monthly fee until sold. This is no different than owning a single-family home, condominium, or townhome. In those cases, the owner must continue paying taxes, property insurance, utilities, and the mortgage payment (if any) and make sure the lawn is mowed and the snow is shoveled until the home is sold.

The main distinction between a housing cooperative and other forms of homeownership is that in a housing cooperative you don’t directly own real estate. But if you don’t own real estate, what exactly are you buying? You are buying shares or a membership in a cooperative housing corporation. The corporation owns or leases all real estate. As part of your membership (as a shareholder) in the cooperative, you have an exclusive right to live in a specific unit (this is established through an occupancy agreement or proprietary lease) for as long as you want, if you adhere to the cooperative’s rules and regulations. As part of your membership, you have a vote in the corporation’s affairs.

Cumberland is a limited-equity housing cooperative (LEC) there are restrictions on the proceeds members can get from selling their shares. These are features that make the housing more “affordable” to both initial and future residents. These restrictions are found in the cooperative’s bylaws. The documents may also establish maximum income limits for new members to target the special benefits of the housing to families who need them the most.

Like any other form of housing, Cumberland cannot discriminate based on the protected classes listed in the Fair Housing Act, which include race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability. Historically, the basic cooperative principles include both open membership without restriction as provided by law and non-partisan in politics and non-sectarian in religion.

Cumberland is only selective in approving memberships as a community of people who share a financial obligation and responsibility for governing how they want to live together; it is important for Cumberland to ensure that incoming members can meet their financial obligation and will abide by the rules of the community.

Always read the co-op’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, and any other available documentation. Make sure you truly understand how the cooperative works, including how it is managed, what you will be required to pay for, and how much that payment will be. Ask about the policy toward pets, and your ability to make changes to your residence. There’s no harm in asking questions; a little extra effort upfront can go a long way toward ensuring a harmonious long-term living arrangement.

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