I live in a four-suite apartment building, which I own, along with the other tenants who live here. We each own one quarter of the building, which includes one, two-bedroom suite; shared space in the basement for laundry facilities and storage; and one spot in our garage. We're kind of like a co-op, but not officially, because then we'd have to have directors and official meetings and all that sort of hogwash. So we just do things our own way.
We do have a written agreement for each tenant that outlines our basic concept and "rules," but it's not legally binding. The main stipulation is that each suite is owned by a woman, but we have no restrictions on who else can live with us. Currently, we have four women, one husband, one grandson, and a few cats.
Two of the women who live here have done so for 20 years. They originally bought the building together with two other women who no longer live here. They were all at points in there life where they were either divorced or unmarried, and wanting to own property but maybe not willing to take on the upkeep of a house entirely on their own. So this form of shared accommodation was just the ticket.
Circumstances changed for two of the women, so two of the suites have changed hands since the beginning. I have lived here for seven years now, and I am both the newbie and the youngster in the group.
We have a common bank account which we each pay into every month to use for property taxes and building maintenance and other shared expenses. We meet once a month or so to both check in on each other and make sure we're all doing okay, and to take care of building business - it seems that there is always something that needs to be fixed or upgraded. We share tasks such as lawn care and snow removal, and we are fortunate that one of the tenants is an expert gardener who makes our garden the envy of the neighbourhood every year.
I must say that as an introvert, living in such close proximity to others has been a bit of a challenge at times, but nothing I can't handle. And besides, there aren't any other housing situations that I know of where you get to meet and assess your neighbours before you move in. I knew that I would be able to adapt and I have.
I can't say for sure whether or not I will stay here indefinitely, because you just never know what may come my way in the future, but for now, I'm perfectly content where I am. Now if I could just figure out how to easily explain that...