What is a Community Land Trust?
Throughout the United States, Community Land Trusts have demonstrated their ability to create permanent affordability, one owner after another, from generation to generation, in perpetuity. The term "permanently affordable housing" means housing that is affordable to each buyer in the future, not just the first buyer.
Community Land Trusts maintain permanent affordability through the Community Land Trust model of homeownership. As their name implies – CLTs hold the land in "trust", or community ownership. This permanently removes the cost of the land from all future transactions involving that property. The land is then leased to the homeowner in a renewable 99-year lease that provides them with the right to full use of the land.
Click on the link below to watch an excellent 30-minute video, Homes & Hands: Community Land Trusts in Action. This introduction to the CLT model highlights three excellent Community Land Trusts – Durham Community Land Trustees in Durham NC, Sawmill Community Land Trust in Albuquerque NM, and Burlington Community Land Trust in Burlington VT. Produced by Women’s Educational Media, 2008.
Community Land Trust Features
NONPROFIT, TAX-EXEMPT CORPORATION – CLTs are independent, nonprofit organizations.
DUAL OWNERSHIP – The nonprofit organization owns the land and an individual homeowner owns the improvements on the land.
LEASED LAND – The individual homeowner “owns” the building through a renewable ground lease that gives him/her the right to the use of the land for 99 years.
PERPETUAL AFFORDABILITY – The ground lease gives the CLT the right-of-first-refusal to the home, should the current owner decide to sell, and the resale price is limited by a formula designed to give current owners some return on their investment while providing another modest-income household access to homeownership.
PERPETUAL RESPONSIBILITY – The CLT plays an ongoing monitoring role with a continuing interest in the property and community in which it exists. The ground lease enables the CLT to enforce repairs, cure defaults, and monitor resales.
COMMUNITY BASE – The CLT operates within a defined geographic area. This can be a single neighborhood, a city, or, as is the case with Cape Fear Housing Land Trust - a region.
RESIDENT CONTROL – CLT residents and community members nominate, elect, and comprise the CLT’s Board of Directors.
TRIPARTITE GOVERNANCE – The Board is composed of equal numbers of seats for CLT homeowners, community members, and public stakeholders.
EXPANSIONIST ACQUISITION – CLTs are focused on bringing new units into their stewardship, though the pace of acquisition varies widely from CLT to CLT.
FLEXIBLE DEVELOPMENT – The model accommodates a variety of housing types, including apartments, condominiums, and single family homes (the most common). Some also provide land for community facilities, neighborhood-serving businesses, and open space.