What is a Community Land Trust?
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets important to that community, like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.
There are now over 225 Community Land Trusts in England and Wales, and the sector has grown six-fold in the last six years. The largest Community Land Trusts have over 1000 members each. Community Land Trusts have developed over 700 permanently affordable homes to date and will have developed a further 3000 homes by 2020.
Principles of a Community Land Trust
CLTs are genuinely community-led and share common principles:
- The community is integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions like what is provided, where, and for who. They don’t necessarily have to initiate the conversation, or build homes themselves.
- There is a presumption that the community group will take a long term formal role in the ownership, stewardship or management of the homes.
- The benefits of the scheme to the local area and/or specified community group are clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.
People set up and join CLTs in particular for all sorts of different reasons, but in all cases, the community wants to make their area a better place to live, and they want more control over how that happens.
Responsibilities of a Community Land Trust
CLTs are not a legal form in themselves (like a Company). However, CLTs are defined in law so there are certain things that a CLT must be and do:
- A CLT must be set up to benefit a defined community;
- A CLT must be not-for-private-profit. This means that thay can, and should, make a surplus as a community business, but that surplus must be used to benefit the community;
- Local people living and working in the community must have the opportunity to join the CLT as members;
- Those members control the CLT (usually through a board being elected from the membership).
Information from the National Community Land Trust Network