About the Coalition
The D.C. Cooperative Housing Coalition exists to advance the common interests of cooperative housing associations in the District of Columbia and promote cooperative housing as a desirable form of home ownership. It is therefore both an advocacy organization that articulates the interests of members before government officials and regulatory agencies and a service organization that provides information and education to members.
Membership is open to all District housing cooperatives, regardless of size. A volunteer board of directors, elected by member co-ops, governs the Coalition. At least five seats on the board must be filled by representatives of small (50 or fewer units) cooperatives. Activities are financed through annual dues determined by the members at the annual meeting.
The Coalition grew out of an ad hoc group of District cooperatives that formed in response to a judicial ruling that had cast a cloud over many cooperatives by banning proportionate voting. By marshaling the forces of more than 3,000 units, the ad hoc group persuaded the D.C. City Council to resolve the matter. Recognizing the importance to the cooperative housing community of speaking in a single voice and maintaining the ability to respond quickly and knowledgeably to matters affecting cooperative housing, the ad hoc group decided to form a permanent organization. The Coalition was established in 1984 and was incorporated as the DC/CHC, Inc., a nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia, in 1993.
The Coalition’s most important accomplishment was its work toward the passage of the Cooperative Housing Procedure Act of 1988 (D.C. Law 7-205), a law that provides for uniform procedure and an equitable formula to assess real property owned by cooperatives.
Up to that time, the District did not have a prescribed method to estimate fair market value, and as a result the assessments were arbitrary and unpredictable. It also successfully opposed a move to charge each cooperative association $3.00 per unit to fund a new government agency to oversee cooperatives and condominiums.
It testified before the City Council in support of a recycling tax credit in lieu of the city collecting recyclables and successfully opposed a 50 percent reduction in the trash collection tax credit, which co-ops and condominiums receive in lieu of the city collecting their trash.
At the heart of many of these efforts was the defense of cooperatives before the City Council to maintain parity between cooperative homeowners and single-family homeowners rather than to be treated as rental complexes. Perhaps most important, the Coalition successfully defended the assessment system it had worked hard to put in place in 1988 when it warded off proposals to change the system in recent years.
The Coalition has co-hosted mayoral candidate forums and recognized Council members who work on behalf of the interests of housing cooperatives. It has also promoted public awareness and interest in cooperative ownership by sponsoring events, most notably a tour of several D.C. housing cooperatives in 1995 to mark the 75th anniversary of the first housing cooperative in the District.
One of the most important benefits Coalition members receive is timely information. The Coalition has conducted seminars and issued newsletters covering topics as diverse as elevators, rentals, taxes and oil and gas bulk purchasing agreements, among others. As a consequence, members receive information that enable them to anticipate and address changes affecting their operations.
With more than 25 years of history, the Coalition remains the premier organization devoted to advancing and protecting the interests of the owners of the approximately 15,000 cooperative units in the District of Columbia.