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Types of Land Trusts

Types of Land Trusts

Conservation Land Trust: A land trust is a nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements.

Alternative type of Land Trust: Another type of land trust is a method of holding real estate.  The reason for holding title this way is to allow the legal title of the property to be held by another person (a trustee) while the original owner retains all of the rights and privileges of property ownership. (Your Step-by-Step Guide to Land Trusts © 2000 Bronchick, William, J.D., published by Legalwiz Publications)

Putting real estate assets into a land trust allows the owner to avoid probate, and save on estate taxes when the property passes to heirs.  It will also protect the property from liens and judgments that might otherwise be brought against an owner. For partners and tenants in common, each owner is insulated from judgments. With a land trust, an owner can privately transfer their beneficial interest in the trust (the actual ownership) without it being reported to any governmental agencies.  Lastly, with a land trust, a person’s ownership of a property remains confidential and does not appear in any county recorder's office or other publicly-accessible resource.

The Land Trust Alliance is not involved in any way with this type of land trust.



Community Land Trusts

A community land trust is a private, non-profit 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.

CLTs offer a balanced approach to ownership: the nonprofit trust owns the land and leases it for a nominal fee to individuals who own the buildings on the land. As the home is truly their own, it provides the homeowners with the same permanence and security as a conventional buyer, and they can use the land in the same way as any other homeowner.

In particular, Community land trusts attempt to meet the needs of residents least served by the prevailing land market.
Community land trusts help communities to:

  • Gain control over local land use and reduce absentee ownership
  • Provide affordable housing for lower income residents in the community
  • Promote resident ownership and control of housing
  • Keep housing affordable for future residents
  • Capture the value of public investment for long-term community benefit
  • Build a strong base for community action.


Visit the National Community Land Trust Network for more information on this exciting movement.

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