Over the next few years, many housing co-operatives will see their operating agreement come to an end. This event could mean a new beginning for your co-op. You can enjoy a bright future without an operating agreement—provided you play your cards right.
Perhaps your co-op’s future includes major property renewal, incorporating sustainable systems and materials or adding more units? We’ve assembled resources and information on funding programs to help you make your dreams for your co-op come true.
Planning for the End of your Operating Agreement
As your co-op gets ready, you’ll find a short overview on our Planning page. If you like lists, a good starting point is the Board Checklist to prepare for the End of Your Agreement. As you tick off the items, you’ll be entitled to feel that your co-op is taking control of its future.
You can also find answers to your questions in the Q&A for your co-op’s CMHC program.
By the time your agreement expires, or even before, it’s likely that your property will need some major work. To figure out how much work and what it might cost, you’ll need a current building condition assessment (BCA).
Fortunately, CMHC’s Preservation Funding can get you started by covering the cost of your BCA and any other technical reports you might need. The Community Housing Transformation Centre is another possible source of funding for studies or other initiatives. Talk to your relationship manager to find out more.
If you already have a recent BCA, you’ll also need either a Capital Reserve Plan or an Asset Management Plan. Based on your BCA, these plans tell you when and how much you’ll need to spend on your property and how you can pay for the work. More information about these plans is available at the resources below.
Becoming More Energy Efficient
As you plan for major building repairs, look carefully at how you can reduce your co-op’s energy consumption, not only to save on energy costs, but also to help our planet. See what these programs have to offer you.
Your co-op will more than likely need a loan to pay for the work on your property. Since you’ve already got a recent BCA, your next step is to get a new mortgage. Most co‑ops will benefit from working with a federation that offers this service, such as CHF Canada or CHF BC.
The Q&A below will give you an overview on borrowing. Our Guide to Private Financing has more detailed information.
Your Housing Charge Assistance
One of co-op housing’s strengths is our income mixing. CMHC’s Rental Assistance Program (FCHI-2) allows Agency clients to continue to assist members of low and modest income with their housing costs after older programs come to an end.
The amount of assistance available reflects information provided by each co-op on its members’ current need for housing support. For the first year, your co-op will receive a base sum to subsidize a base number of households. At the end of the first year, some adjustments will take place, depending on how much you used and what you need.
Get Connected - Coming Soon!
You may wish to join the Agency’s Facebook group on the Rental Assistance Program FCHI-2. Here you can pose questions, read Agency updates on FCHI-2 and see what inquiries other co-ops have already made. Feel free to ask us anything…about the program!
The Agency will be administering the new Rental Assistance Program. We are building on-line tools to help your co-op calculate and submit your claim, which the Agency will reconcile against your Annual Information Return (AIR). Filing your AIR will mean that your co-op will receive your usual set of informative reports every year.
The Rental Assistance Program also calls for each co-op to create an action plan on ways to improve its operations. However, these don’t need to be prepared right away. You’ll hear more from us about action plans in the coming months.
Help from the Agency
The Agency has many different kinds of help available for our clients, in addition to contact with your relationship manager by phone or e-mail.
More on Planning
On request, your relationship manager will make a personalized presentation to your board or membership on what to expect when your operating agreement ends. We’ve also created a tool to help you with long-term financial planning, which we’re happy to show off to you and leave with you for your own use. This tool will allow your co‑op to explore the long-term impact of the different financial choices your co-op could make.
How does your Co-op Measure Up?
If your co-op no longer has a CMHC agreement, you would not normally continue to receive annual reports on your co-op’s performance. However, the Agency has developed the Annual Health Check Service, because we believe that everyone needs to know the facts about their operations. Through this program, for a modest fee, your co-op can arrange to receive a basic or premium set of reports on your performance every year. For more information, visit our Annual Health Check page.