Community Land Trusts

Florida’s affordability gap continues to expand with the price of housing growing at a faster rate than incomes. At the same time, the cost to produce housing continues to rise and expiring affordability periods for most funding sources leads to the potential loss of affordable units that will be more difficult to replace. Community land trusts and other shared equity models are tools to preserve investments and create a permanent stock of affordable housing. Below highlights the work of the Florida Community Land Trust Institute (Florida CLT Institute), a program of the Florida Housing Coalition, to promote permanent affordability throughout our state. Not sure what a community land trust is? Click below to read our FAQs.


With limited public funds and the enormous gap between the average income of Florida’s workforce and the cost of housing, Florida’s communities are looking to new tools to meet the housing needs of Florida’s residents. A tool that an increasing number of Florida communities are looking to is the community land trust.
A community land trust (CLT) refers to the vehicle of separating land from building (house) for the purpose of transferring title to the house without selling the land. It also denotes the private non-profit corporation that acquires and holds title to the land and manages the ground leases on that property for the benefit of that community.

This manual describes in detail key best practices to establish, sustain, and scale community land trust operations in Florida. These include the instructions for legal documents, recommendation for effective stewardship, and ways in which CLTs can serve as key partners with local governments to expand and permanently preserve a community’s stock of affordable housing.


The Florida Community Land Trust Institute (Florida CLT Institute), is a program of the Florida Housing Coalition, which began in January 2000.  A community land trust strategy must be specifically designed to respond to local market conditions, identified housing needs, and available funding. The Florida CLT Institute provides training technical assistance, and consulting services to develop an effective strategy for your location. The Florida CLT Institute further advocates for the inclusion of permanent affordability preferences or requirements in local affordable housing programs and regulations, such as requirements for surplus land and inclusionary housing.

The Florida CLT Institute assists government and nonprofit entities with:

  • Assessing whether a community land trust is appropriate for your community and if so, which model makes the most sense for your community;
  • Understanding the terms of the ground lease and options for resale provisions;
  • Start up for the nonprofit community land trust;
  • Capacity building for the nonprofit community land trust;
  • All manner of real property development and financing issues.

As interest in community land trusts and other shared equity models grows, the Florida CLT Institute focuses on promoting industry standards and best practices amongst all CLTs in Florida to bring them to scale. Towards this goal, the Florida CLT Institute is currently piloting a new Community Land Trust Training and Certification Program.

CLT Homebuyer Education Module

With the support of Wells Fargo Bank, the Florida CLT Institute developed the Community Land Trust Homebuyer Education Module. The module is intended to supplement the general homebuyer education required of most first-time homebuyers by helping potential CLT buyers understand their responsibilities as a CLT homeowner and understand the difference between fee simple and CLT homeownership. The module also provides guidance on how a CLT owner can transition to fee simple homeownership and demonstrates how to calculate the resale price of their home as they contemplate the next step in their homeownership journey. Click below to download the Teacher’s edition. The Homebuyer’s edition of the module is coming soon.


Model CLT Down Payment Assistance Strategy for SHIP Communities

The 67 counties and 52 entitlement cities that are eligible to receive funding under the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program administered by Florida Housing Finance Corporation, are required to adopt a Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP) that includes strategies to address the housing needs of Florida’s low- and moderate-income population. The most common strategy adopted by SHIP communities is Purchase Assistance which includes down payment assistance (DPA) for qualified homebuyers. The Florida CLT Institute has drafted add-on language that local governments can use as a model to amend the current purchase assistance strategies in their LHAPs. This add-on language will maximize the use of the SHIP funds by ensuring that the homes acquired under the CLT strategy remain permanently affordable. Read more about the subsidy retention approach to preserving affordability below.

Sample Legal Documents for SHIP Purchase Assistance Programs with a CLT Strategy

Implementing a CLT DPA Strategy requires legal documentation that is unique to the Community Land Trust model. Coupled with the Model CLT DPA Strategy, the Florida CLT Institute has drafted several sample legal documents to aid in implementation. For example, traditional legal documents may require the CLT homeowner to mortgage away the underlying land in fee simple although the homeowner only has a leasehold interest to encumber. The model legal documents include a sample mortgage and note that accurately reflects the ownership interests involved as well as the terms stated in the model CLT DPA Strategy. Additionally, the Florida CLT Institute has drafted an approval form for local governments to attest to a CLT’s ability to act as a successful steward and a checklist of language to consider when devising CLT DPA legal documents. Access the sample legal documents and checklist below.


CLT Approval Form Sample SHIP Second Mortgage for CLTs
CLT Mortgage Not SHIP Consideration Sample Promissory Note SHIP CLT Program

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