WHAT MAKES CO-OPS DIFFERENT?
This comparison shows how Co-op housing differs from private rental, ownership, and other non-profit housing.
 
CO-OP Private Rental Ownership Other Non-Profit*
Who is responsible for maintenance? The residents (or members) The landlord The owner The landlord
Who decides what the rent or payments should be? Residents vote to set rent as needed to cover costs. Landlord decides rent to cover costs and make profit, subject to legislation. Owner has to cover costs plus the cost of borrowing. Landlord decides rent to cover costs.
Who gets the profits? No one - there is no profit. The landlord (if there is a profit). The owner (if the property appreciates). No one - there is no profit.
How long can someone stay? As long as they want, while respecting the obligations of membership. Usually (but not always) for as long as they can afford it. As long as they can afford it. As long as they want.
Is a down payment necessary? No. No. Yes. No.
What is required when you want to leave? You must give notice. Must give notice, subject to lease. Must sell. Must give notice.
Co-ops are one of four kinds of non-profit housing. They are the only non-profit housing that is democratically managed by the residents.

Municipal Non-Profit

Non-profit housing built and managed by a city or town.

Private Non-Profit

Non-profit housing built and managed by community-based or private organizations such as churches, service clubs, social service agencies, etc.

Public Housing

Non-profit housing owned and managed by the Ontario government. None has been built since 1970.

Source: What is a housing co-op? published by the Co-operative Housing Association of Ontario (CHAO)