Decent, secure and affordable homes are getting harder and harder to come by in London. Local authority waiting lists are in the tens of thousands, the private rented sector is insecure and under-regulated and average house prices are at thirteen times the average income. Many Londoners are being forced to choose between living in poor housing, or leaving their friends, family and community for good.
Three quarters of Londoners now agree that London needs more affordable homes. There is also a political consensus, with the Mayor of London and most local authorities making affordable housing a priority. However, there is less consensus about what the word ‘affordable’ truly means, or about how to build the homes. There remains a substantial gulf between the powers that be attempting to deliver the homes London needs, and local residents who feel dramatic change is being forced upon them and their neighbours without their say.
London Community Land Trust bridges that gulf by working with teams of local residents to create truly and permanently affordable homes that are owned and run by local people; putting Londoners back in charge of how our neighbourhoods change.
We are the first Community Land Trust (CLT) in the capital to sell homes, starting with our flagship project at St Clements in Mile End.
What is a CLT?
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organisations that develop and maintain affordable homes, community gardens, civic buildings, pubs, shops and other assets on behalf of a community, putting control of those assets into the hands of local people. London CLT focuses on working with communities to create permanently affordable homes and transform neighbourhoods.
Watch this video for an introduction to CLTs:
Genuinely And Permanently Affordable Homes
Our CLT homes are priced according to local earnings, ensuring that people are no longer priced out of the neighbourhood they grew up in. ‘Local earnings’ are taken as median income using data published by the Office for National Statistics in November each year. At St Clements, this means that a 1 bed property will be £130,000, a 2 bed will be £182,000 and a 3 bed will be £235,000, approximately one third of the open market value of the homes.
CLT homes are about providing people with a home, not just an asset. The contract signed upon moving in makes sure that all residents have to sell the home to the next household again at a price according to local earnings. This means the homes can be sold on again at a similarly affordable level every time a new family moves in.
Run By Local People
London CLT is a democratic membership organisation that anyone who lives in London can join. The board, elected by the membership, has one third each of resident representatives, local community representatives and stakeholder representatives that have the expertise the CLT needs to do its job well. London CLT is also an example of community wealth building. Through the democratic governance structure described above, and an ongoing focus on a democratic culture, London CLT is an example of how local economies can be reorganised away from centralised decisions by government and the market, and focus on delivering what local people need.
London CLT was born out of the community organising efforts of Citizens UK – the national home of community organising – in response to the need for genuinely affordable homes in the capital. We remain rooted in the principles of community organising.
Part of a Broader Movement
The ideas of both community land trusts and community wealth building more broadly are on the rise. There are now hundreds of Community Land Trusts across the country, and growing recognition of the importance of homes, buildings and land being in the hands of community organisations that ensure those 'assets' deliver what local people need.
CLTs in particular are also being piloted in some countries in Europe. We are supported by the Interreg Northwest Europe program Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities (SHICC) to both develop more London CLT projects in London, as well as share lessons learnt with European partners to spread the development CLT's.
For more information about CLTs and how to set one up in London, please contact London's Community-led Housing Hub. If you're outside London and want to find out more please contact the National CLT Network.