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Any organization owned by its members. A cooperative may be a business owned by its employees and/or customers, a residential complex owned by the people who live in it, or even a bank owned by its depositors. Certain legal requirements are incumbent upon cooperatives; for example, there is often a cap on how much of their profits may be distributed. See also: Cooperative economics.

Cooperative (co-op).

A co-op is a corporation that owns a particular residential property. The shareholders are the tenants who, instead of owning an individual unit, own shares in the corporation, which gives them the right to live in that unit.


(1) Short for cooperative apartment, being a method of owning real estate in which a corporation owns a building and related facilities and persons who buy stock in the building are entitled to rent a particular unit, called a proprietary lease, at rates significantly below market rents. (2) An arrangement between two real estate agents for the sale of a property and splitting of the commission, usually as a result of one agent having the listing with the owner and another agent bringing the buyer to the closing table.