What are Community Land Trusts?

Community Land Trusts originated in India in 1950’s as way of keeping land gifted by benefactors in the ownership of communities rather than individuals, keeping it safe for the benefit of future generations. The idea took off in the USA in the 60’s and was used to provide affordable homes for disadvantaged African Americans in the South, but soon spread across the country and CLTs are now a main provider of good quality social housing in most states. CLTs are not only used to provide housing, but also to preserve land and other assets for the community. In the UK they are a legal entity called a Community Benefit Society and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, with whom they are registered. The CLT has legally binding Rules and a structure that ensures that residents, the community and stakeholders have control of the organisation, which is led by a board of Trustees.

Key features are :

The last feature is essential. CLTs take on the job of providing affordable housing on a permanent basis and build and refurbish housing for the long term to avoid much needed homes becoming holiday homes or overpriced private lets with no security for the tenants. WSCLT is in this for the long run.

For more information about Community Land Trusts and details of Trusts operating elsewhere in the country the National Community Land Trust Network is a wonderful resource.