A housing co-operative is a housing business that is a consumer co-operative mutually owned by its members, which complies with the International Co-operative Alliance’s (ICA) Statement of Co-operative Identity and operates in accordance with the ICA’s Co-operative Principles and Values. There are different co-operative housing models in different countries, but what characterises housing co-operatives compared to other housing providers is that they are jointly owned and democratically controlled by their members, according to the principle of “one person, one vote”. This has clear implications for the way they operate compared to other actors on the housing market. Co-operatives benefit not only their members but also the wider public interest.
Although co-operative housing is widespread and has an impact on the quality of life of millions of people, our housing sector is still relatively little-known. This report has been published jointly by CECODHAS housing Europe and ICA Housing. It represents a first effort to present the history and the current realities of co-operative housing throughout Europe and around the world, and our contribution to 2012, the United Nations International year of Cooperatives.