Co-operative Principles for housing co-ops

On September 23, 1995, the International Co-operative Alliance, the body representing co-operatives worldwide, adopted new co-operative principles. They appear in short form below.

  1. Open Membership
    Co-ops are open without exception to anyone who needs their services and freely accepts the obligations of membership.
  2. Democratic Control
    Co-ops are controlled by their members, who together set policy, make decisions and elect leaders who report to them. In primary co-ops each member has one vote.
  3. Economic Participation
    All members contribute fairly to their co-ops, which they own in common. Co-ops pay a limited return (if any) on money people have to invest to become members. Surpluses are held for the future and used to improve the co-op’s services.
  4. Independence
    All agreements co-ops sign with outside organizations or governments should leave the members in control of the co-op.
  5. Co-operative Education
    Co-ops offer training to their members, directors and staff. co-ops tell the public what they are and what they do.
  6. Co-operation Among Co-operatives
    Co-ops work together through local, national and international structures to serve their members.
  7. Community
    Co-ops meet members’ needs in ways that build lasting communities inside and outside each co-op.