Q: Is a land bank the same thing as a land trust?
A: No!! They are totally different, though complementary tools
Municipal Land Banks: Return vacant, abandoned, and tax foreclosed property to productive use efficiently and strategically, while reducing the harm of vacant properties.
Community Land Trusts: Enable community control over land and create community assets, including permanently affordable housing.
How to they do it?
Municipal Land Banks:
Using a range of special powers, such as ability to acquire and hold property tax free, clear title and back taxes, and dispose of property intentionally, not just to the highest bidder. They may, for example, demolish obsolete structures; remediate soil; give side lots to neighbouring owners, donate land to nonprofits, or assemble properties for large developers.
Community Land Trusts:
CLTs retain ownership of land, sell the structures on it, and offer long-term ground leases to those structures’ owners. To create permanently affordable homeownership CLTs sell houses with a resale price restriction. CLTs also develop and maintain affordable rental housing, commercial spaces, gardens, and community facilities.
Can they work together? Yes!
Land banks are in need of ways to dispose of land that will help the community and keep it out of the speculative cycle so it is less likely to end up vacant again. Land trusts are often looking for either land to develop on or buildings to bring into their portfolio. Land out, land in.