Welcome to Tortuga!

An Intentional Community in Mountain View, California

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Joining Tortuga

  • You can read about our community at our ic.org listing
  • Summary: We are a suburban retrofit cohousing[1] community in Mountain View, CA. In November 2006 after 1.5 years of organization, planning, and search, we purchased two adjacent 4-plexes, for a total of eight 2-bedroom apartments. We have 14 adults and 2 children, and are still working on landscaping, making common space, social & financial organization. The average age is about 30, and many of us work in the tech industry.
  • Each building is legally structured as a Tenancy In Common[2], with its own mortgage and deed. We've torn down the fence between the buildings, and are slowly landscaping the exterior space (all of which we treat as common space). We've converted a pair of garages into a lounge. We meet every two weeks or thereabouts, have parties every few months, and are slowly trying to figure out our policies, bylaws, and that sort of thing. We don't have any strong unifying ideological beliefs, except that we're generally pro-technology and pro-community. Decisions are made by consensus with Condorcet voting if consensus fails.
  • We are still working on a legal structure and bylaws to join the two buildings. We currently operate according to our draft documents. The most common things people ask:
    • Financials: Most common projects are funded voluntarily, by those who are interested in them. Any required expenses (insurance, taxes, mortgage) are split by equity share of the building. The units have slightly different equities based on how large they are.
    • Selling units: The community must approve any new member who buys. Members of the community have right of first refusal to purchase a unit at any price offered to an outside buyer. If a unit is offered for sale for a long time (9 months, I think) and the community does not approve a buyer, then the seller has the right to force the entire building to be sold. Some people find this rule surprising. Our thinking is if that if someone wants out, and no one wants in, and the community can't find anyone who wants in, then perhaps the community should not continue. Also since there are multiple buildings, this clause only applies to one building at a time. We feel it makes people more willing to buy in because they know they can get out if need be.
Available Spaces
  • Units for sale: As of Oct 2013, there is at least one unit for sale. Contact us for more information.
  • Units for rent: We have a number of rental rooms, but there are rarely vacancies. Contact us for more information.
  • Purchasing nearby buildings: Buildings on the street are very occasionally available for sale. If you are interested in helping expand our community by sharing in the purchase of another building, please contact us.
  • Renting on the street: While rental units in the community only open occasionally, units come open on the street periodically. This is the cheapest option, and it would be up to you how much or little you participate in community activities, shared resources, etc.
The application process

(note: we are significantly less formal about application for renting on the street, than for living in one of our 2 buildings. The below is mainly for living in our buildings.)

  1. The first step is to get a tour of the community, and the unit for sale if that is what you are interested in. To arrange this, please contact us.
  2. If you like what you see, next, you should come to one of our biweekly socials, currently on Thursday evenings, or one of our every-few-months parties. This way you and the community members can meet each other.
  3. You should continue coming to socials and getting to know the community members until both sides are sure there is (or isn't) a fit.
  4. Depending on what you are interested in, you would then be kept apprised of rentals on the street, start the loan process for purchasing a unit, join a group attempting to purchase a nearby building, etc.
If you have further questions, please contact us.

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