Oakland is one of several neighborhoods that is including a Trust to combat the critical shortage of quality, affordable homes.
What is a CLT?
A nonprofit, community-supporting system of land ownership. The CLT owns the lot – the land – a house sits on and leases it to the resident, while the house and all property responsibilities belong to the resident. The CLT controls the use of the house, requiring that it be permanently owner-occupied, by present and future owners. In Oakland, the CLT will be administered by Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC), a nonprofit community development organization with 38 years of experience serving Oakland residents. The program is voluntary, but it will work best if a majority of homeowners in an area join.
OPDC's biggest priorities for our CLT are to preserve affordability and support homeownership in Oakland. Home purchases can be subsidized to ensure affordability and sales prices will be controlled, but home sellers will realize a fair gain on their investment.
OPDC worked with experts to create a business plan that ensures this model is successful and financially sustainable, as it has been in a number of cities across the country.
The National Community Land Trust Network has 136+ members in 41 different states, and reports that the number of operating CLTs has grown from three in 1975 to 133 in 2015. Here in Pittsburgh, Oakland joins several other neighborhoods, including Lawrenceville and Garfield, in launching a CLT to ensure that properties stay owner-occupied and affordable. You can learn more at www.cltnetwork.org
Why a CLT for Oakland?
OPDC has 38 years of housing development experience. For years, a hazard in providing affordable homes to families has been that there was no way to prevent eventual conversion to rental. The CLT is a legal solution to this problem, with proven success across the country – a way to ensure that properties stay owner-occupied every time they are sold. It is the intervention the Oakland market needs to ensure regular houses are accessible for regular homeowners. The CLT will create the homeowner market that doesn’t really exist today, and it will help maintain affordability for regular, working families like yours.
CLTs are time-tested, proven tools for neighborhood revival and stability; we in Oakland are learning from established CLTs in cities nationwide. We have great hopes that the CLTs we’re starting will have its own snowball effect, helping to reverse the decline of the Oakland we love, and rebuild our historic community. Our goal is to have 50 CLT participants by 2023.
Where are we now?
- The first CLT lease with an Oakland homewoner will be signed this January!
- Our first renovated home is ready to sell at affordable price to a low- to moderate- income buyer.
- There are 20 more properties in the CLT pipeline.
- We are actively fundraising for capital and operating funds from Oakland institutions, foundations, and other partners.
- The OPDC Board of Directors will be requesting nominations for the CLT committee soon.
- We are continuing to reach out to residents to spread the word about the CLT.
- Our goals is to have 50 houses in the CLT in five years.
CLT Homes for Sale
How can I get involved?
OPDC will gladly meet with you and your neighbors to discuss the CLT- its details, benefits, and requirements. If you can organize or host a meeting, let us know. Take the lead, talk to your neighbors: be an ambassador for the Oakland Community Land Trust!
Now more than ever, Oakland needs its Pittsburgh neighbors. Sign on here to join the campaign for an Oakland Community Land Trust.
Q: What's in it for me as a seller?
A: Many Oaklanders have lived here for decades, taking pride in caring for their homes and enjoying neighborhood friendships. How much better they might feel, when they finally have to move, knowing that another homeowner will live in the house, care for it as they did, and maintain a pleasant community! The CLT is especially useful for elderly residents. For instance: the CLT can buy your lot for cash now, and you can use that money for home repairs and renovations to help you ‘age in place,’ or for whatever you please. Then, when you are ready to leave your house, OPDC can buy it, do necessary renovations, and then sell to a family. The land will always be owned by the CLT.
Q: What's in it for me as a buyer?
A: For buyers, the pitch is pretty simple: you get a quality, affordable house in a highly accessible and desirable location, close to Downtown, dozens of bus routes, world-class cultural amenities, and beautiful Schenley Park.
Q: Will OPDC pay me as much for my house as a landlord would? If not, why should I sell for less?
A: In many cases, OPDC can make a competitive financial offer for your home. In cases where we are outbid by landlords, we can still guarantee a better long-term future for the home, whereas a landlord will often let the house deteriorate.
Q: I am already renting out an apartment in my own house, where I live. I have a 2-unit occupancy permit that allows me to do this. Will the CLT allow me to keep renting the apartment?
A: Yes. The requirement for owner occupancy can be met in one unit and the other unit rented out.
Q: I own the house next door to the one I live in, and currently rent it out (as one unit). Can it be part of the CLT? How would that work?
A: If your long-term goal for this property is that it be a rental unit, unfortunately it would not be eligible to join the CLT. If you consider selling it at some point in the future, please let OPDC know so we can make a competitive offer to purchase it and place it in the CLT.
Q: What about the property tax on the land: do I get any breaks on this?
A: All property taxes will remain the responsibility of the property owner. Some CLT property owners in other cities have had success keeping tax assessments from increasing, given the restrictions on their property. Oakland CLT property owners are encouraged to appeal their Allegheny County tax assessment. Allegheny County does not yet have a policy on CLT properties.
Q: If OPDC owns the land my house is on, do I have to ask permission to garden, build a fence, or cut down a tree? What about things like sidewalk repairs or issues with underground pipes?
A: As the homeowner, you retain responsibility for all upkeep on your property and control of all decisions about renovations or landscaping; some exceptions and notifications will be spelled out in your lease with the CLT.
Q: Are there any incentives for landlords to sell their properties to the CLT?
A: As with any property owner, the CLT will offer a fair, competitive price to the landlord, and then OPDC will manage any renovations necessary to prepare the home for an owner-occupant.
Q: Does OPDC make money on this program? How does it pay for itself?
A: OPDC is currently raising funds for the capital and operating costs of the CLT. Any income raised will go directly to program operations and CLT stewardship. DO WE MENTION UPMC OR PITT COMMITMENTS YET?
Q: How long is the term of the lease?
A: Ninety-nine years. It automatically passes from owner to owner during that time. A CLT property can be inherited just like any other house can.