In Estonia, as a result of mass privatizations of public housing stock in the early 1990s, 97 per cent of people own their own home. Most live in multi-dwelling apartment buildings, which are managed by cooperative-style apartment associations
Members of apartment associations are responsible for managing their buildings under legally defined frameworks which support their decision making. For example, more than 50 per cent of apartment owners in each building must agree on the scope and budget of any refurbishment work. This approach has been very successful; figures from Eurostat show that the percentage of low-income households in Estonia living in sub-standard dwellings has been declining steadily: from close to 40 per cent in 2004, to around half that in recent years. The Estonian Union of Cooperative Housing Associations and its members have had a significant role to play in this, upgrading and improving low-quality housing, driven by collective decision-making and enabling the management of buildings by residents.