Community Land Trust Model

What is a Community Land Trust (CLT)?

According to the Institute for Community Economics (ICE), a community land trust is “a private non-profit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents. In particular, CLTs attempt to meet the needs of residents least served by the prevailing market. Community land trusts help communities to:

  • Gain control over local land use and reduce absentee ownership
  • Provide affordable housing for lower income residents in the community
  • Promote resident ownership and control of housing
  • Keep housing affordable for future residents
  • Capture the value of public investment for long-term community benefit
  • Build a strong base for community action”

The land trust model of home ownership is a powerful tool for making housing affordable in the face of the increasingly widening gap between income and housing costs. A community land trust purchases and holds land for the benefit of the community and individuals within the community. Most land trusts are especially concerned with providing and preserving affordable housing on this land, though some land trusts in other regions focus on conserving farms. By working on several properties in one area, land trusts prevent the kind of land speculation that often results in gentrification or higher-income residents moving in and displacing long-time tenants. NCLT is one of dozens of community land trusts revitalizing neighborhoods and creating affordable home ownership opportunities around the country. Community land trusts are different than conservation land trusts.

The CLT model allows the CLT to own the land, guaranteeing permanent affordability while residents own the single-family houses, cooperatives, condominiums, commercial property or other facility on top of the land. The model is an ideal way for owners of existing rental property who would like to sell the property to tenants at an affordable rate to do so. The CLT model was designed to revitalize neighborhoods without causing gentrification and to reduce absentee landlord ownership. It is also ideal for promoting cooperative ownership and local control over land and housing.

Land trusts provide access to land and housing for people who are otherwise priced out of the housing market. Some land trust homes are rented, but, when possible, the land trust helps people to purchase homes on affordable terms. The CLT model gives title to the land to a nonprofit and allows the nonprofit to lease the land to residents using a 99-year, renewable ground lease. The ground lease ensures that the housing will be permanently affordable, while the nonprofit provides ongoing project monitoring. Residents and their descendants can use the land for as long as they wish to live there.

The model is an ideal way for owners of existing rental property who would like to sell the property to tenants at an affordable rate to do so. The CLT model was designed to revitalize neighborhoods without causing gentrification and to reduce absentee landlord ownership. It is also ideal for promoting cooperative ownership and local control over land and housing. Specifically the CLT model gives title to the land to a nonprofit and allows the nonprofit to lease the land to residents using a 99-year, renewable ground lease. The ground lease ensures that the housing will be permanently affordable, while the nonprofit provides ongoing project monitoring. NCLT has ground leases for the majority of the projects in our permanent portfolio.

Benefits of the Land Trust Model
Traditional Legal Ownerships vs. Land Trust Models
Other Land Trusts
CLT Video: Homes and Hands



Additional information can be found at:

 

© 2017 Northern California Land Trust
3120 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA 94705
Phone: 510-548-7878 Fax: 510-548-7562