Shared-Expense Housing goes by many names, such as Condominiums, Townhomes, Patio Homes, and more.


The Overlooked Affordable Housing Opportunity for our Aging, Low-Income, and More Urban Population

Shared-Expense Housing goes by many names, such as Condominiums, Townhomes, Patio Homes, Villas, and more. Especially when these Community Associations are more than twenty years old, they can offer one of the few affordable housing options for:

  • Seniors
  • Millenials burdened with large college debt
  • Low-income families

But Affordable Housing like this…

…is very often a financial House of Cards unless there are trained, committed board volunteers plus managers with best practices training. Together, the volunteer board and paid manager must have consistent focus year after year for the property to be a successful source of secure and affordable housing.


Homelessness and homelessness risk

“Basically we were all going to be homeless, if we couldn’t get a handle on running this Association.”

Management is often spread thin

“It’s a lot harder and more labor-intensive to run our small communities than anyone ever imagined.”

No reserves or severely underfunded

“I shopped for a condo with the lowest monthly fee. But this place is falling apart and I can’t convince the other owners to do anything about it.”

Financial chaos


“$25,000 in special assessments for each owner over the last 10 years. If this keeps up, I will soon outlive my savings.”

The Size of the Problem

1 in 5 Americans or 70 million people


1 in 5 Americans or 70 million people live in volunteer-led, non-profit, shared-expense housing.

Half live in single family homes in Home Owner Associations with minimal risk, as there are far fewer shared expenses.

Half live in Condos, Patio Homes and Townhomes where there is greater risk, due to high shared expenses in infrastructure, utilities, roofs, insurance and renovations.

Low-income elderly: Stressful & precarious financial existence

AARP reports 1 in 3 Seniors count Social Security for nearly all of their retirement income.

Average annual Social Security payment is $16,320 per year.

The average senior in the US has less than $25,000 per year in income.

Financial ticking time bomb: Underfunded reserves

There is little hard financial data available for these hundreds of thousands of privately held, non-profit housing associations.

But Levy, Erlanger & Co LLP, Certified Public Accountants in San Francisco details the sheer size of the underfunded reserves problem. From their 2018 Northern California Community Association Financial Survey, they report 49% underfunding of reserves that should be on hand now.

Extrapolated to all of the state of California, that’s underfunded reserves of $44 billion dollars.

Outside management is often spread thin due to low pay for managers

The outside manager is often spread thin, such as one manager at 15 to 25 properties due to historically low pay within the industry. This results in insufficient staffing to manage and lead the property. As problems grow worse, the poor and most vulnerable are left to deal with greater and greater problems.