Exploring the Various Types of Membership in a Cooperative Society

Types of Memberships in a Cooperative Society

Different types of membership in a cooperative society are offered to individuals seeking to participate in their operations and benefits. Understanding these membership categories, including the definition of bonafide members and the minimum and maximum member limits, is essential for those interested in cooperative housing societies.

Membership of a Cooperative Society: What Does it Mean?

Being a member of a cooperative housing society holds significant importance as it not only provides individuals with a place to reside but also empowers them to actively participate in the management and governance of their residential community. Let’s delve deeper into what it means to be a member of a cooperative housing society in India:

Share Purchase

To become a member of a cooperative housing society in India, an individual must first apply for membership by purchasing shares in the society. These shares represent a financial stake in the cooperative and are typically the primary source of funding for the society’s activities, including the construction and maintenance of residential units and common facilities.

Application and Registration

Once an individual acquires shares, they need to apply for membership to the society’s managing committee. The application should include all necessary documents as per the society’s bylaws and regulations. The managing committee evaluates the application and, if it meets the eligibility criteria, registers the applicant as a member.

Membership Rights

As a member, individuals enjoy various rights within the cooperative housing society. These rights may include the right to attend and vote in general body meetings, participate in decision-making processes, and access common facilities and amenities provided by the society. 

Residential Unit Allotment

One of the primary benefits of being a member is the allocation of a residential unit within the cooperative housing society. Members are allotted housing units based on their shareholdings and as per the society’s rules and regulations. This allocation ensures that members have a place to live within the cooperative community.


Along with rights, members also have responsibilities. They are expected to abide by the cooperative society’s bylaws, pay maintenance fees, and actively participate in the maintenance and management of the society. Members may also serve on the managing committee or other sub-committees to contribute to the society’s smooth functioning.

Bonafide Member

A “bonafide member” is a term used to describe a member who actively participates in the cooperative society’s affairs, abides by its rules, and fulfils their financial obligations. Bonafide members are often given preference in various matters, such as the allocation of parking spaces or leadership roles within the society.

Minimum and Maximum Membership Limits

The Cooperative Societies Act in India sets out specific guidelines regarding the minimum and maximum number of members a cooperative housing society can have. Typically, a society must have a minimum of ten members to be registered, while there is often a cap on the maximum number of members to maintain effective management and decision-making processes.

Types of Memberships in a Cooperative Society

Cooperative housing societies in India offer various types of memberships to accommodate different categories of individuals and entities. Each type of membership comes with its rights, responsibilities, and qualifications. Let’s explore the different types of memberships in a housing society:

1. Original Member

  • An original member is the person whose name appears on the purchase deed of the property.
  • They are registered as shareholders and granted membership in the society.
  • The original member’s name is recorded as the primary shareholder on the share certificate.
  • To maintain active membership status, they must attend at least one general body meeting every five years and pay maintenance and other society charges on time.

2. Associate Member

  • Associate members are individuals who jointly own the property or shares in the society, with their name appearing after the original member’s name on the share certificate.
  • They can occupy the residence with the written consent of the original member.
  • Associate members have the right to attend general body meetings, vote, and even contest elections if they meet the ownership criteria.
  • Typically, associate members are spouses, parents, or children of the original member.
  • Associate membership ceases upon the death or resignation of the member but remains valid as long as they own shares or property in the society.

3. Nominal Member

  • Nominal members do not hold any right, title, or interest in the property individually or jointly.
  • They are admitted to membership after registration but are not given any shares in the society.
  • Usually, nominal members are subletters, tenants, or licensed caretakers.
  • They have the right to occupy the residence and live in the society but do not participate in general body meetings, elections, or the Managing Committee’s workings.

4. Sympathizer Member

  • Sympathizer members hold an honorary position and share the society’s goals and objectives.
  • They do not have voting rights, nor are they allotted shares in society.
  • Sympathizer members often possess expertise in specific fields (e.g., architects, engineers, finance experts) and guide society in their area of specialization.

5. Corporate Member

  • Legally registered companies can become members of a housing society to provide accommodation to their employees.
  • However, government regulations stipulate that more than 50% of the total membership cannot be granted to a company in a housing society.
  • The company’s Memorandum of Association (MOA) should include a clause allowing investment in the housing society.
  • Corporate members have representation in the Managing Committee and the right to vote if they have invested funds in the society.

6. Minor Member

  • Minors are eligible to become members of a society through their guardian or legal representative.
  • Once they reach adulthood, they can participate in property transactions independently.
  • In cases where the property is under the minor’s name and managed by a guardian, the society cannot take legal actions regarding transfers without a court judgment.

There are several types of memberships in a cooperative society that you can avail. Each type of membership has its own set of privileges and obligations, contributing to the cooperative and collaborative nature of these societies. NoBrokerHood can provide a platform for seamless communication, conflict resolution, and simplified financial management. To thrive in your cooperative housing society, explore NoBrokerHood today and experience hassle-free community living.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is Cooperative Housing?

A. Cooperative housing is a housing arrangement where tenants collectively own and manage the property. It is a housing solution aimed at providing affordable homes to middle-class and low-income individuals. In a cooperative society, each member holds an equal share of the property and collaboratively participates in its administration and maintenance.

2. How Do Housing Societies Function?

A. Housing societies are established following the Co-operative Societies Act, enabling individuals to come together and form a cooperative society to achieve common goals. The society’s affairs are overseen by a committee of elected members responsible for managing the society’s operations. The property is collectively owned by the society, and its maintenance is a shared responsibility among the members.

3. Is Recognition Granted to Cooperative Housing Societies by the Indian Government?

A. Cooperative housing societies are officially registered under the Co-operative Societies Act and receive recognition from the Indian government. To address the housing shortage in metropolitan areas, the government also offers various subsidies and incentives to promote the development and growth of cooperative housing societies.

4. How Are Cooperative Housing Societies Administered?

A. Cooperative housing societies are managed by a management committee that is elected by the society’s members. This committee oversees all aspects of the society’s functions, including maintenance, budgeting, and decision-making. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation and maintenance of the cooperative housing society.

5. What Are the Benefits of Joining a Cooperative Housing Society?

A. Joining a cooperative housing society comes with several advantages. Cooperative members enjoy collective ownership, which often leads to more affordable housing options. Additionally, they have a say in society’s decision-making processes and can participate in the management of common facilities. 

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