What is community-led housing?

All over the country, local communities are getting involved in developing, owning and managing housing. Through community land trusts (CLTs), co-housing initiatives, local housing co-operatives and self-build projects, people are creating their own housing solutions to local issues.

We have been supporting community-led housing for over 25 years, since we started our work with Stockfield Community Association in Birmingham. We have helped create new organisations, including creating model rules for Community Benefit Societies that are CLTs, which enable community investment shares to be issued. We have helped communities get land for development, deal with funding issues, enter into development contracts and set up long-term management arrangements.

We advise and work in partnership with tenant management organisations (TMOs), Locality members, community-based organisations, housing co-operatives, co-housing organisations and CLTs. We have been working with the National Federation of Tenant Management Organisations (NFTMO), the National CLT Network and other umbrella bodies within the sector for many years.

This experience and expertise was recognised when we were appointed in 2015 by the Building and Social Housing Federation to draft a statutory definition of community-led housing. This work helped to advocate for more resources, and manage the impact of policy issues like the “voluntary right-to-buy” for housing associations.

We worked with HACT (the Housing Associations Charitable Trust) on the development of a Community-led Housing Technical Toolkit; a comprehensive suite of specialist documentation and advice to provide local authorities and housing associations with the technical information and guidance they need to promote, support and develop community-led housing.

Community-led housing has enormous potential to provide more homes and to help communities control their own destiny. The Community Housing Fund also recognises this as a further way of providing homes that communities want and need. We have been involved in supporting a number of organisations in successful bids to the Fund. If you are part of a community looking at housing, we want to support you on your journey.

Some of our experience

Leathermarket JMB: We worked with this London-based TMO on their development of new affordable homes, the first phase of which is now complete. Southwark Council also approved the land lease and funding agreements for 40 more genuinely affordable new homes in Borough, London.

Board member conduct and disputes: Advising on and supporting the Board with the process of removing board members, member disputes, tenant complaints, advising on potentially defamatory statements made and protections from harassment.

Helsington CLT: Appointed as legal advisers on its incorporation as a non-charitable community benefit society with statutory asset lock provisions. Our property team also provided advice on land options and lease transactions.

Contracts: Negotiating amendments to and contractual disputes on management agreements, advising on key terms, disputes with managing agents and/or landlords, contractual responsibilities and remedies available.

Angmering CLT: Sponsored by Angmering Parish Council to receive 106 turnkey properties as well as to pursue own build. House prices are a key issue for this locality based in Sussex.

Granby 4 Streets: We supported this innovative Turner-Prize-winning, urban CLT in Liverpool in acquiring properties from the City Council, which once refurbished will let as permanently affordable homes as part of the renewal of the neighbourhood.

National Community Land Trust Network: We have revised the model rules to create new sets for use by Community Land Trusts, charitable and non-charitable, seeking to incorporate with the ability to issue community shares. We offer incorporation packages using the same for a fixed price.

Witton Lodge Community Association: Was set up by Birmingham City Council to redevelop their neighbourhood. WLCA have also taken community spaces by way of community asset transfer and have completed a further development of homes within the estate.

Stockfield Community Association: SCA, in partnership with Birmingham City Council, re-developed a pre-war estate of around 430 homes. SCA is a charity and has a leasehold interest over the land. It has developed housing for rent and for sale.

Keswick CHT: Advised on legal set up and subsequent prospectus for community investment shares. They raised the gap finance for the first housing development.

Advice to fully mutual housing co-operative: Dispute with managing agents, Member –v– Management committee disputes and advice in respects of rent setting and obtaining loan finance.

“We want every community to be able to start a Community Land Trust, to solve their own housing needs. These new model rules take them one step closer to that goal, making it cost effective to incorporate their CLT with a strong governance model and new ways to raise finance. It has been a pleasure to work on this with Anthony Collins Solicitors, one of the leading firms in the community-led housing sector. They have brought their knowledge and perseverance to updating these rules, which we expect to be put to good use by the dozens of new CLTs starting up each year.” Tom Chance, Head of Grants and Development, National CLT Network

For more information

Please contact David Alcock.