What is a housing co-operative?

A housing co-operative (co-op) is a type of non-profit housing. If you are eligible to live in a housing co-op your rent will likely be lower than in a privately owned apartment or it may even be subsidized by the government.

In addition, housing co-ops do not have tenants and landlords. Instead, by living in a co-op you become a member and share voting rights with all residents, as well as, the responsibility of managing the building.

Eligibility & costs

As a member of a housing co-op you will qualify for either:

  • Market units – You pay full rent but the price is still significantly lower than the cost of apartments managed by private companies.
  • Subsidized units – You rent price is based on your income.

Anybody can be eligible for market units, but you can be eligible for subsidized units only if you fulfill the specific requirements for subsidized housing. In addition, given that subsidized units are the most affordable choice, you may have to wait longer to get one than you would for a market unit.


Once you become a member of a housing co-op, you will benefit from affordable housing and security, as rent in housing co-ops is controlled by its members and all members have voting rights in important decisions. In fact, as a member, you get to vote on the annual budget meeting that sets out rent prices for the future, and can run to become part of the board of directors.

Types of housing co-ops

While housing co-ops welcome diversity and serve a variety of people, there are housing co-ops focused on a specific sector of the community. Some types of housing co-ops include:

You can find a co-op by searching through the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) directory, or specifically searching for a housing co-op in your community. To apply, contact the co-op you are interested in and ask about the application process and other related information.

For More Information

  • Find Housing Help in Ontario - This website lists housing help centres across Ontario. These centres can help you find affordable housing and access financial and social supports. From the Housing Help Association of Ontario.
Last updated: June 7, 2024 4006190