There are many types of community-led housing. These brief descriptions of some of the main types provide a starting point and the website links provide further information. Go to our ‘How To’ page for links to further information about each one.
Community Land Trust
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes as well as other assets like community enterprises, food growing or workspaces. CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.
Cohousing communities are intentional communities, created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home as well as shared community space. Residents come together to manage their community, share activities, and regularly eat together.
A housing co-op is a group of people who have control over their own housing, without actually owning it personally. The legal structure, technically an Industrial and Provident Society, can be thought of as a separate person, who owns the property, takes out mortgages, and to whom the tenants pay rent. This legal structure, however, only does what the members of the co-op tell it to!
A Tenancy Management Organisation (TMO) is a means by which council or housing association tenants and leaseholders can collectively take on responsibility for managing the homes they live in. Those resident members of the TMO create an independent legal body and usually elect a tenant led management committee to run the organisation.
Self or custom build
In self build projects someone directly organises the design and construction of their new home or they may arrange for an architect/contractor to build their home for them. Custom build homes tend to be those where you work with a specialist developer to help deliver your own home.
In practice, these community-led mechanisms are often used in combination Some of these terms relate to land ownership, some to design, some to build methods, and some to governance principles. A scheme may be held in a community land trust to lock in affordability in perpetuity, the layout of the dwellings and common spaces may be designed according to co-housing principles, and the scheme may be managed according to co-operative or tenancy self-management principles.
Different schemes tend to look to one or other of the mechanisms as their primary motivation and each mechanism has its own set of national advisory bodies, literature and networks.