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a form of cooperation in which the members are united for joint construction and use of housing units. The housing cooperative originated under capitalism as an expression of the struggle of working people against the housing shortage. The cooperative form of housing construction emerged for the first time in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century and became especially developed in Western Europe in the middle of the 19th century, when the significant growth of the urban population and of industry sharply intensified the house problem.
Under capitalism. In the capitalist countries the housing cooperative exists in various forms and has various purposes and goals. Some cooperatives issue loans to members for the construction and acquisition of houses (Great Britain and the USA); others build houses themselves which are then passed on to the members of the cooperative as private property or rental units (Federal Republic of Germany). The cooperative form of housing construction under capitalism is within the sphere of capital investment and is expected to bring the same profit as the capital invested in construction, industry, or commerce.
Membership in a capitalist housing cooperative requires a great monetary investment, one beyond the possibilities of the working masses; therefore, members usually belong to the petite bourgeoisie, middle classes, and workers’ aristocracy. The high cost of cooperative construction is also related to the right of private ownership of land: the housing and building cooperatives must spend 30-40 percent of all money for acquiring land parcels.
At the present stage of the development of capitalism, the bourgeois state regulates the activity of the housing cooperatives. The intensification of the class struggle forces it to take steps to alleviate the housing problem to some extent and to help develop cooperative housing construction. For example, the state grants credit on favorable terms to private building cooperatives for the construction of cooperative housing units, and in some countries (including the USA, Sweden, and Denmark) it does the construction itself. In such cases the state establishes a lower cost for shares and more favorable terms for payments than do private cooperatives.
Under socialism. The housing cooperative in socialist coun-tries enjoys every kind of support from the state in the interest of the whole society; it strives to expand and accelerate housing construction through attracting financial support from the workers themselves who are in need of better housing. In the USSR, the housing cooperative exists in the form of housing construction cooperatives.
In European socialist countries the housing problem is being solved mostly through cooperative housing construction, which in some countries (Poland, Czechoslovakia) in the beginning of the 1970’s accounted for 70-75 percent and more of all housing construction. The most important principles of the legislation of the socialist countries on the housing cooperative are uniform, but certain differences exist concerning the legal status of owner-ship of the buildings, the procedure of the financing and crediting of the housing constructive, and the organizational structure of the cooperative. In Poland, for example, housing cooperatives are organized in unions, and the unions are organized into cooperative centers. In other socialist countries, housing cooperatives exist independently.
The legislation of the socialist countries recognizes individual membership in the housing cooperative. The legislation in Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic establishes occupation of living quarters by members on a right of use basis; in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, legislation provides for the passing on of individual apartments to the members of the cooperative on a personal property basis. The extent and definition of the rights of the shareholder in the areas of the use and disposal of living quarters in different countries depend on the type of housing cooperative.
SH. D. CHIKVASHVILI