WHAT IS A COMMUNITY LAND TRUST?
A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a nonprofit, community-based organization whose mission includes stewardship of land for community benefit and permanent affordability. CLTs provide affordability by separating the ownership of land and the properties built on it. They hold title to one or multiple parcels of land, either close together or scattered across a specific geographical area. The land is removed permanently from the market. CLTs offer long-term ground lease contracts between building owners and the trust, and may mandate a cap on the sale price, thus limiting the profit that could be made in the open market.
KEY CHARACTERISTICS OF A COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
In this model, the ownership of land and buildings is separated. The CLT holds the ownership of the land and may lease it to individuals or organizations to build on. The buildings may already exist when the CLT acquires the land or they may be constructed after the acquisition.
Through a ground lease, typically of 99 years, CLTs restrict the sale price of the buildings. It also ensures that the resale price is set to give present homeowners a fair return on their investment and future home buyers fair access to housing at an affordable price.
CLTs are a unique model of community-based ownership and stewardship of land and housing. They involve residents, community stakeholders, and housing experts in the governance of the CLT and prioritize community involvement at all levels. The emphasis on community participation sets CLTs apart from other land and housing ownership approaches.
CLTs can be used for residential, commercial, recreational, and mixed-use purposes. They allow the development and preservation of low-income single homes, multi-family buildings, housing cooperatives, single-room occupancy housing, community gardens, community spaces, and commercial spaces.
SECURITY AND STABILITY
Community land trusts are among the most successful development models to prevent displacement and gentrification. They protect vulnerable communities from market pressures and predatory practices and allow them to make roots in their neighborhoods.