Community Land Trusts

A Community Land Trust is a private nonprofit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents. Land is taken out of the market and separated from its productive use so that the impact of land appreciation is removed, therefore enabling long-term affordable and sustainable local development. Through CLTs, local residents and businesses participate in and take responsibility for planning and delivering redevelopment schemes.


  • Board of Directors typically made up of resident members, those representing members who are not CLT residents, and those representing the broader community interest
  • Builds equity over time through appreciation of home
  • Creates a duel ownership partnership between the owner and the nonprofit, where the nonprofit owns the land and leases it for a small amount to the owner.

In Practice

District of Columbia. The New Columbia Community Land Trust, Inc. (NCCLT) is a community-based, land acquisition, housing development and community education organization. NCCLT serves as housing development coordinator/consultant to tenant groups seeking to exercise their "first-right-to-purchase" single-family or multi-family buildings when their landlords put them up for sale. In addition to a ground lease, NCCLT provides tenant organization support, project feasibility, financial packaging and loan applications, architect and contractor selection, construction monitoring, and permanent financing and close-out.

Burlington, Vermont. One of the largest and most influential Community Land Trusts is located in Burlington, a university town of about 40,000. With active support from city government, Burlington Community Land Trust (BCLT) was established in 1984 to produce and preserve affordable housing for local residents. Currently, BCLT's holdings have grown to nearly 500 units of housing, including single-family homes, housing cooperatives, condominiums and varied rental options. All of BCLT's housing is affordable not just for the first residents but for all residents thereafter. Find more infomation about BCLT here.

Concord, New Hampshire. Founded in 1989, the Concord Area Trust for Community Housing helps low-income families become homeowners or find stable, affordable apartments. The goal is to increase the supply of affordable apartments and homes for purchase, searching beyond city limits to expand housing choices, educating and empowering families to take control of their finances and to purchase their own homes, and nurturing our neighborhoods through quality local management. They have so far created 166 dwellings which have helped over 400 people gain access to decent and affordable housing. They have also assisted over 150 families who went on to purchase their own homes.

North Camden, New Jersey. North Camden Land Trust (NCLT) is a community based nonprofit housing organization controlled by a neighborhood board of directors. Incorporated in 1984, NCLT was established to acquire, raise funds and renovate vacant and abandoned properties in the North Camden neighborhood. During the past 17 years, NCLT has rehabilitated 68 existing structures into 103 single homes and apartments, rehabilitated four row homes into 22 SRO's of permanent housing for the homeless and built four new homes from the ground up which are part of the limited equity cooperative.

Inclusionary Zoning Expedited Permitting Density Bonuses Housing Rehabilitation Programs Expiring Use of Federal Subsidies Adaptive Reuse
Affordable Green Building Housing Trust Funds Dedicated Revenue Source Home Purchase Assistance Community Land Trust Toolkit Home