07 Sep 2017

CLT charity says leasehold reform must exempt cohousing projects

CLT charity says leasehold reform must exempt cohousing projects

In response to the recently announced leasehold reform, the National Community Land Trust Network (NCLTN) has called for Community Land Trusts (CLTs) to be granted exemptions. This is because CLTs often use a model of affordability that relies on part or full retention of the land to ensure affordability is locked in for future generations.

The Government’s DCLG Consultation, Tackling Unfair Practices in the Leasehold Market proposes wide ranging reform, but fundamentally that a ban on the sale of leasehold houses and inflated ground rents.

Read my blog on the leasehold housing scandal, here.

Together with UKCohousing, the NCLTN is calling for Government to protect community-led housing by exempting CLTs and other cohousing from the ban. To do this it has put forward a Code of Conduct for Public Interest Leases, where best practice for the leasehold market is promoted.

Catherine Harrington, NCLTN Director, said: “Community Land Trusts have played no role in the exploitation of leasehold.

“While we support the consultation’s goal of addressing the unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold by developers and private investors, CLTs are one of a few approaches using leasehold to deliver genuinely affordable housing.

“That’s why we are calling for the government to exempt CLTs and other affected community-led housing models from this proposed ban.

“CLTs are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people who want to help those in housing need. It’s the fastest-growing housing model in the UK. We hope other responsible housing providers will join us to campaign for a Code of Conduct for Public Interest Leases.”

Credit: Pollard Thomas Edwards architect’s award winning project for OWCH, Older Women’s Cohousing

Editor’s comment

In a market dominated by six housebuilders, any community groups must be nurtured and promoted. In themselves, they are intrinsically worthy and already have the odds stacked against them in working with the public rather than professionals.

But their dynamism offers new ways of doing things, and it’s these innovations that can inform larger projects in the more general market. Check out Igloo’s Chris Brown in his recent blog about how cohousing projects have much to teach us.

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