Better Living Through Mutual Ownership
Winchester-Hood Garden Homes is a well-established housing cooperative in the West Ridge neighborhood (also known as West Rogers Park). Nestled among quiet, tree-lined blocks, the clusters of four and five-story vintage buildings are situated around park-like courtyards. The Scandinavian Modern architecture boasts rowlock brickwork over concrete and steel, while large, angled windows and building placement maximize sunlight.
Designed and constructed by Holsman, Holsman, Klekamp & Taylor in 1949, the original concept was to provide innovative and economical family housing based on the collective ownership model of living. Over half a century later, Win-Hood Garden Homes still holds true to this philosophy.
What is a Housing Cooperative?
Instead of owning real estate directly, such as a condominium, ownership in a housing cooperative consists of owning shares in a corporation. This is generally still considered homeownership and is therefore tax deductible. The corporation owns and leases out the actual real estate. An occupancy agreement or proprietary lease gives the shareholder exclusive rights to live in a designated unit within the cooperative. This eliminates the need for an outside landlord, such as with rental properties, offering more control over the living environment and security of tenure.
The shareholder/tenant pays a monthly assessment toward the management and operation of the property, which can include such expenses as utilities and even property taxes. These assessments cover the common areas and grounds, but each shareholder is still responsible for any maintenance expenses within the walls of their assigned unit.
Prospective buyers are given a copy of rules and regulations prior to meeting with a Board of elected shareholders for final review before being granted membership into the housing cooperative. Decisions in matters relating to the day-to-day running of the cooperative are made by the Board, governed by established rules and regulations. The Board also reviews and approves potential share/unit sales.
Board meetings are usually held monthly, and time is allotted for shareholders to present issues and resolutions for the betterment and continuation of the association. Shareholders are collectively responsible for the success of their community.
For more information on housing cooperatives, please visit The National Association of Housing Cooperatives.