Cooperative housing is experiencing a resurgence of interest worldwide. As a more democratic and affordable alternative to dominant housing provision, it is often heralded as a blueprint for ‘housing commons’. Despite its long history, however, cooperative housing has rarely gone beyond a ‘niche’ in the housing market. Recent critical housing scholarship is beginning to address this marginalisation and understand how a more widespread development of the sector can be supported. In times and places where cooperative housing has expanded beyond a ‘niche’ solution, the role of the state, through policy making at national, regional and municipal scale, stands out as an important enabling factor. Drawing on ten international cases, this study presents a framework for a rigorous and politically meaningful comparative approach to public-cooperative policy mechanisms for ‘housing commons’. Three key phases in the housing process (production, access and management, and maintenance of the model in time) are identified and discussed through concrete examples of policy areas and mechanisms. The article contributes to scholarship on cooperative housing policy making and ‘housing commons’ and argues for a shift in attention to questions of accessibility over time, and the thorny issue of permanent decommodification.