What is Community Led Housing?

An alliance of organisations has developed the following definition of community led housing:

  • The community must be integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions (what, where, for who). They don’t necessarily have to start and manage the development process or build the homes themselves, though some may do
  • There is a presumption in favour of community groups that take a long-term, formal role in ownership, management or stewardship of the homes
  • The benefits to the local area and/or specified community should be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity

Most community-led housing developments have the following features:

  • It is usually smaller scale – most developments are under 25 homes and some are much smaller
  • Projects are usually set up and run by local people in their own communities, often with external support from housing associations, local authorities or other support organisations
  • Most provide affordable homes for rent, shared ownership or sale on sites that are often difficult for mainstream housing providers to develop
  • Most are designed to meet long term local housing needs, by the community retaining a legal and/or financial interest in the homes and ensuring they are always available to local people who need them
  • Most community-led housing is not for profit, involving considerable voluntary effort

Are there different types of Community Led Housing?

Community-led housing comes in many different forms – there are no standard models, but it can include:

Community Land Trusts provide affordable homes for local people in need by acquiring land and holding it as a community asset in perpetuity.

You can find out more from the National Community Land Trusts Network.

National CLT Network

Housing Co-operatives involve groups of people who provide and collectively manage affordable homes for themselves as tenants or shared owners

You can find more information from the Confederation of Co-operative Housing.

Cohousing schemes involve groups of like-minded people who come together to provide self-contained, private homes for themselves, but manage their scheme together and share activities, often in a communal space

You can find more information from the UK Cohousing Network.

Tenant Management Organisations provide social housing tenants with collective responsibility for managing and maintaining the homes through an agreement with their council or housing association landlord.

Self-help housing projects involve small, community-based organisations bringing empty properties back into use, often without mainstream funding, with a strong emphasis on construction skills training and support

You can find more information about self help housing here.

Community self-build involves groups of local people in housing need building homes for themselves with external support and managing the process collectively.

You can find more information from the Community Self Build Agency.

Photograph: Rob Turner