Housing co-ops: an innovative alternative to traditional renting


Quebec has a long history of cooperative housing. Housing cooperatives entered into the scene in Montreal in the 1960s as a response to neighborhood clearance projects. Essentially, housing cooperatives became a way tenant could collectively own and govern their own homes without the risk of eviction by a landlord who may try and sell the property to large housing corporations. Since then, housing cooperatives have taken a prominent role in Québec housing as an innovative and affordable alternative to traditional private market rental housing.


There are several great advantages about Co-op housing. For instance, cooperative tenants collectively own and govern their household. That’s right- in this case you’re both a tenant and a landlord! As such, co-op housing is generally more affordable than private-market housing because the tenants collectively decide on rental increases, if any. Your rent, rather than going into a landlord’s pocket goes directly into the maintenance and financial value of the apartment building you live in. Beyond the rent, the cooperative of tenants collectively decide on any questions relating to the maintenance or costs of the building. However, finding a spot in a co-op is not easy because they tend to choose new members who will get involved and stay for a long period of time.

Student Housing Cooperatives

With increasingly more out-of-town students in Québec, Montréal in particular, as well increasing rental-to-condo conversion, the amount of decent student-appropriate private rental housing stock is not meeting the demand. Not only is it becoming more difficult for students to find decent apartments, rental units available to families are also becoming increasingly scarce. As students, how do we create sustainable housing options for ourselves while maintaining rental housing options for families? One solution could be student housing cooperatives! By creating student-specific housing we’re not only providing affordable and sustainable housing options for ourselves, we’re also leaving more private rental housing stock to those families who need it. While co-op situations are special and somewhat limited, plans  to expand these initiatives are currently motion.

For more info on student co-ops, get in touch with UTILE : utile.org