What is A Co-op?

Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI) is a not-for-profit housing cooperative of 1,600 homes in the historic city of Greenbelt, Maryland. A housing cooperative or “co-op” is formed when people join with each other to own and manage their homes. GHI is one of the oldest and largest housing cooperatives in the United States. When you buy a GHI home, you purchase the right to live in a particular unit and you join the cooperative as a member. All 1,600 GHI member-owners together own the cooperative and share the operating costs.

Board and Staff

GHI members elect a Board of Directors consisting of nine members who make decisions for the cooperative and hire and direct the general manager. GHI’s paid professional staff of full-time employees handles day-to-day operations of the cooperative, including maintenance and finances. The staff report to the general manager who keeps the Board and membership informed.

Advantages of Living in a Co-op

In addition to the price you pay to buy your house and cooperative membership, as a GHI member you pay a monthly fee that covers the operating expenses of the cooperative and funds a replacement reserve fund. Maintenance costs in a housing cooperative are shared, so your monthly co-op fee covers your share of maintenance and repair of plumbing, electrical wiring, and building structural components. GHI is operated on a not-for-profit basis and any surplus funds are dedicated toward future member benefits.

There are many advantages to living in a cooperative. As a member, you enjoy freedom from landlord control, and unlike a rental apartment complex, no outside corporation makes a profit from your rent. Cooperatives are usually more affordable than other forms of housing, as maintenance costs are shared. As a member, you receive tax deductions as in home ownership, and you may also build equity in your home. If you wish to sell your occupancy right and cooperative membership, you may do so for the going market rate, meaning that you receive any profit or accept any loss, based on current market conditions at the time of sale

Your monthly co-op fee covers your share of maintenance and repair of plumbing, electrical wiring and building structural components.

Member Involvement

Since all 1,600 homes have equal shares in the cooperative, members are encouraged to participate and contribute to making our cooperative better. Annual membership meetings are usually held in May, and members are encouraged to attend. There are also a variety of volunteer opportunities, including:

    • Short-term commitments helping at one-time events.
    • Task Forces for specific projects such as stormwater management projects and upgrading our website.
    • Committees dedicated to long-term efforts such as managing GHI’s financial reserves or maintaining trails and woodlands.
    • Elected leadership responsibility on the Board of Directors or serving on one of two elected committees.