Utilities, Heating and Cooling
The houses are almost all electric, with the exception of the four-bedroom town houses which utilize gas as well. Members are responsible for all utility costs and for contacting utility providers (Pepco, Verizon, etc.) to set up service and to address service problems.
Unless the previous member-owner upgraded the heating and cooling systems, your house has baseboard heat and may have window or wall air conditioners. GHI maintains the electric baseboard heaters. In 2015-2019 upgrades were made to heating and cooling options, insulation, windows and doors in a community-wide renovation.
A big advantage of living in GHI is that staff handles much of the major maintenance and repairs. GHI covers structural systems, such as the plumbing and electrical wiring, and maintains hot water heaters. As a member, you are responsible for replacing appliances and for maintaining the floor and wall finishes.
Each house, even a one-bedroom upper unit, has its own yard, in keeping with the original English garden-style planned community model. Each member is responsible for caring for their yard. There is a community beautification program to ensure members maintain their yards. GHI is responsible for gutter-cleaning but members must rake and remove leaves from yards and walkways.
Monthly Co-op Fee
The monthly co-op fee depends on the type and size of your home and whether you have an addition. The fee covers your real estate taxes and your share of maintenance costs, trash collection, insurance, administration costs, and contribution to the general reserve fund. At the end of the year, GHI sends a statement of the amount you paid in real estate taxes for your unit. This amount can be deducted from your taxable income if you itemize your tax returns. Some of your monthly fee goes into a replacement reserve fund which covers the cooperative’s cost of replacing roofs, windows, heating units, hot water heaters, and other major parts of the houses.
GHI has a master insurance policy on the cooperative’s buildings and main homes. Members should purchase their own HO-6 insurance policy to insure the contents of their house, personal property, improvements and betterments (including additions), as well as personal liability coverage
GHI offers the flexibility to renovate your home. Most popular are kitchen and bathroom renovations. Additions, exteriors and gardens renovations are also allowable. Many GHI members improve and enhance the heating and air-conditioning operations within their homes. All renovations need to adhere to GHI guidelines, and a GHI permit and necessary city and county permits are required for major improvements. The member handbook contains the rules regarding improvements and alterations.
Members are allowed to build additions to their houses. Your nearest neighbors must agree to your addition, and you need applicable permits from GHI. You or your contractor are also required to get the necessary city and county permits. The member handbook contains the rules regarding additions to your home.
Once your addition is completed, you will be required to enroll in the Addition Maintenance Program, in which GHI adds a modest monthly fee to your co-op fee to fund the addition maintenance reserve, which covers the maintenance of most components in an addition. A member will also need to sign an addendum to the membership contract to include the addition.