What is a housing cooperative?

A Housing cooperative is a group of people working together, sharing a common goal, have similar expectations and will pool their limited resources to improve the condition of their housing. This can be done by;

  • Purchase land together
  • Acquire legal ownership of land
  • Build new housing for members
  • Improve the condition of dilapidated housing for members
  • Increase the size of existing housing by adding rooms

It is a legal entity and it should not be confused with a SACCO or building society. Housing cooperative is a democratic organization, owned and controlled by its members. Every member is free to participate and own a share of the cooperative. It is normally a non- profit with its income coming from its member’s contribution, rentals from members occupying cooperative owned housing. Any surplus created is meant for operational expenses or requirements, maintenance, reserve funds for replacement of assets. It is, however, quite possible for housing cooperatives to own other revenue generating assets that can produce surplus income which can then contribute to offsetting the cost of housing. For poor marginalized communities in particular, a housing cooperative takes on a broader dimension beyond housing to what is termed as the Social Production of Housing (SPH) This involves people coming together relying on each other to create solutions, to design, plan, mobilize resources, maintain spaces, partnering to provide labour, time, expertise, materials and money for housing development.

Who may join a housing cooperative?

A housing cooperative does not discriminate against ethnic origin, gender, sex, age, marital status, political affinity, disability, record of offenses or any other reason which is a violation of fundamental human rights. Different cooperatives will of course come up with their own criteria for acceptance to membership but some of the considerations include;

  • Commitment to cooperative principles, values and objectives and willingness to participate in cooperative decision making and activities such as attending meeting, serving on committees and taking on different tasks.
  • Demonstrate financial responsibility to meet the requirements set by the cooperative
  • Indication of permanency or long term commitment to the cooperative
  • Likely to be a good resident who will maintain cooperative property in good condition
  • Likely to be a good neighbor who will live cooperatively with and respect the rights of others.
  • Indication of a positive attitude to living in a community with people from a variety of social, economic and cultural backgrounds should the cooperative want to build housing units together.

How many members form a cooperative?

A minimum of thirty (30) members. However, there is no limit on the maximum number. It is mportant that the numbers are manageable.

Why join housing cooperatives?

  1. Increased Security of tenure; Affordability;
  2. Member Control;
  3. Satisfaction of social needs;
  4. Job creation;
  5. Member saving culture

Building Sustainable Housing Cooperatives In Uganda


  1. To regulate and oversee the activities of housing cooperatives in uganda.
  2. To promote and ensure compliance with high professional and ethical standards with in the housing cooperative industry.
  3. To promote public awareness, and build confidence with in the housing cooperative industry.
  4. To represent the interests of members and stakeholders
  5. To offer professional development through consultancy, networking and advisory services.
  6. To conduct research and development in housing cooperative movement


  1. Professional excellence
  2. Integrity
  3. Accountability and Transparency
  4. Mutual Cooperation Social responsibility