A housing cooperative is a corporation that owns a parcel of real estate, usually a building or buildings with multiple residential units. Rather than purchasing the house or apartment outright, cooperative housing owners instead buy shares of the corporation. In turn, the purchaser receives the right to occupy one of the units. Cooperative housing operates under laws that differ significantly from those governing condominiums or homeowners' associations. Real estate attorneys who have experience with cooperative housing law can guide you through the process if you are considering a co-op purchase. Cooperative housing law lawyers can also work with existing co-op owners, co-op boards of directors and developers who are consider a cooperative conversion.