Benefits of the Land Trust Model

NCLT focuses on the development of resident-owned and permanently affordable housing and community facilities using the CLT model. 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. There are other benefits as well:

Prices Stay Affordable

When land trust homeowners decide to move, they can sell their homes. The land lease agreement gives the land trust the right to buy each home back for an amount determined by the land trust's resale formula. Each land trust sets its own resale formula - to give homeowners a fair return for their investment, while keeping the price affordable for other lower income people. The land lease requires that owners live in their homes as their primary residences. When homes are resold, the land trust can ensure that the new owners will also be residents - not absentee owners.

Multi-Family Housing Opportunities

A land trust can work with various ownership structures for multi-family buildings. The land trust itself may own and manage a building, another non-profit may own it, or the residents may own it as a cooperative or as condominiums. In each case, the land trust will have provisions to ensure long-term affordability.

Helps New Homeowners

Land trusts can provide a variety of training opportunities and other services to first-time homeowners. They can provide crucial support if homeowners face unexpected home repairs or financial problems. In these cases the land trust can often help residents to find a practical solution, and may help to make necessary financial arrangements.


Land trusts have been established to serve inner-city neighborhoods, small cities, clusters of towns, and rural areas. A land trust working in a small city neighborhood may be the only local housing group, though it may collaborate with citywide and regional organizations. Other land trusts, serving larger geographical areas, may work closely with a variety of local organizations.

Land trusts may develop or rehabilitate housing by themselves or with the assistance of other non-profit (and sometimes for-profit) housing developers. A land trust may also acquire existing housing that needs little or no renovation. Some land trusts have bought mobile home parks to provide long-term security for mobile home owners.

In addition to affordable housing, land trusts may make land available for community gardens, playgrounds, economic development activities, or open space, and may provide land and facilities for a variety of community services. In rural areas, land trusts may hold land for gardens, farming, timber and firewood, or conservation. Sometimes land trusts buy undeveloped land and arrange to have new homes built on it; sometimes they buy land and buildings together. In either case, the land trust treats land and building differently. Land trust land is held permanently - never sold - so that it can always be used in the community's best interest. The residents, however, may own the buildings on land trust land.

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