A community land trust (CLT) is a community-led, non-profit organization that owns land and puts it to use for community benefit. CLTs are committed to the long-term stewardship and permanent affordability of land, housing and other assets that contribute to a thriving community.
There are several key features that differentiate the CLT model:
- social mission: CLT provides access to land, housing, and other community assets that are permanently affordable to persons of low or moderate income.
- corporate status: The CLT is a private, non-profit corporation that is not sponsored by a for-profit corporation. Alternative structures may be used in Québec.
- place-based: CLTs serve a defined geography, from a neighborhood to an entire region.
- corporate membership: CLTs are member-based organizations. Membership is open to any adult resident of its service area.
- board selection: Members nominate and elect the majority of the board directors.
- board composition: CLT boards include a certain percentage of leaseholders, organizational members, and any other category of persons described in the by-laws of the organization.
- permanent land ownership: CLTs never sell their land, protecting it from the private market. CLTs typically convey their lands under long-term leases. Alternatively, the CLT may access public lands through long-term ground leases.
- perpetual affordability: CLTs have mechanisms to ensure access to its properties is permanently affordable. In home ownership programs, a CLT controls the resale through a contractual mechanism, or retains a preemptive option to purchase at a price determined by a formula.
- Expansionist: CLTs are not focused on a single project or lot. They have the goal of expanding their land holdings and increasing the supply of affordable housing and community assets under their ownership.