Community land trust: Non-profit, community-based organizations run by volunteers that develop housing, workspaces, community facilities or other assets that meet the needs of the community, which are owned and controlled by them and are made available at permanently affordable levels.
CLTs are great examples of communities taking control and transforming the future of their local community. They range in size, can be rural or urban and provide a variety of housing as well as other community facilities, including energy generation, community food and farming.
The five key features of a CLT are:
- Community-controlled and community-owned
A CLT is set up by the community and for the community. The members of the CLT control it and the assets can only be sold or developed in a manner that benefits the local community.
- Open democratic structure
People who live and work in the defined local community, including occupiers of the properties that the CLT owns, must have the opportunity to become members of the CLT. The CLT should actively engage members of the community in its work and ensure that they remain engaged in the development and operation of the CLT.
- Permanently affordable housing or other assets
A CLT will struggle to keep the homes or assets permanently affordable.
- Not for profit
All CLTs are not for profit and any profits generated by the CLT cannot be paid by way of dividend or otherwise to its members but must be used to further the community’s interests.
- Long-term administration
A CLT does not disappear when a home is sold or let but has a long-term role in stewarding the homes. In some cases they will remain the landlord of the rental homes or will retain an element of unsold equity in the homes.
Community land trusts are a key strategy for helping low-income communities to build assets through home ownership while mitigating the destructive consequences of irrational, speculation-fueled housing markets. By keeping housing permanently affordable, a community land trust helps reduce the displacement that can accompany gentrification when property values are climbing (Davis 2010).
- Bob Patterson, S.B. and T.M., 2012. The Community Land Trust Handbook First. N. C. N. and R. S. Catherine Harrington, ed., London: National CLT Network.
- Davis, J.E., 2010. The Community Land Trust Reader J. E. Davis, ed., Danbury: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.