Community Land Partnership

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Proposed governance and financing structure by Chris Cook, a partnership-based alternative to the model of Trusts.


"A Community Land Partnership is not an Organisation: it does not own anything; employ anyone or contract with anyone.

It is simply an associative/consensual agreement between stakeholder member groups/associations as follows:

  • Custodian – who holds land in perpetuity;
  • Occupier – who occupies land and buildings;
  • Investor – who introduces money or “money’s worth” in land, property, materials, labour etc
  • Manager – who develops and manages/maintains the developed land

The Occupier pays a rental – probably index-linked (to property values; wages; prices or a combination) for the use of the land and what's on it for as long as he uses it, and this is proportionally shared between the Investor and the Manager.

If the Occupier pays more Rental than that due, he automatically becomes an Investor i.e. he acquires Units in the pool of future rentals of the property.


Units are undated credits issued at a discount by the Custodian, and redeemable in payment for (say) $1.00's worth of rent. By way of example a $1.00 Unit may be issued at a price of 80c, and when the Unit is redeemed there will be a return of 25%. But the date, and hence the rate of return will depend on: existence of a rental flow (development risk ,if any, justifies a higher return); rental level (the higher the rent the less affordable it is; the more likely there will be vacancies; and therefore the less certain the return); the number of Units in existence (occupiers will always buy for redemption if the Unit price < $1.00, and will always purchase the cheapest Units).


Sustainable Development: High quality and energy efficient development minimises cost of occupation and maximises rental value. Participation by the manager as a service provider sharing gross rental revenues aligns his interests with investors.

Co-ownership: Although individual occupiers, investors and managers will all change over time, land remains in the ownership of the custodian and is never sold again.

For the occupier the rental cost is minimised by the absence of debt and compound interest, and the occupier may pay either in $ or in $'s worth, for instance by carrying out maintenance (sweat equity), or possibly even caring for other occupiers.

For the investor in Units there is a secure return, because an affordable rental is by definition more likely to be paid. Units are also liquid, because even in the absence of financial investors, occupiers will always be prepared to buy Units for redemption.

The Property Relationship

As Bentham pointed out, Property is not an object or thing, but the bundle of rights and obligations that link an individual to a productive asset.

The CLP is simply a consensual framework agreement which encapsulates this relationship and enables rights to use and fruits of use to be equitably shared in a new and perhaps optimal way.

More Information

  1. Community_Land_Partnership_for_Rural_Housing_in_Scotland
  2. Another proposal by Chris Cook: Energy and Heat Pooling
  3. Dutch Community Land Partnership