CLT prospect for Tasmania

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Leo Foley

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Sep 20, 2010, 1:24:23 AM9/20/10
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Louise
Please excuse the old heading.  I used an old email from you, and forgot to edit the heading. Dumb!!

Here is the content again, under a more dynamic, and relevant, heading.
Hi Louise
I mentioned in an earlier email that I was writing to the Tasmanian Housing Minister, Cassie O'Connor, MHA.
I have an appointment with a couple of her minions (date yet to be settled) to discuss possibilities for a CLT.  The two things that will make it difficult will be a suitable legislative structure (we don't have Community Title in Tassie);  and a financial model that government could back.
Before I meet with her people, I'd like to have something sensible to say on both fronts.  Can you assist me, please?
1.  What is the legislative framework that is best suited to CLTs?  Is their any model legislation?
2.  What financial model is possible?  If Govt was to grant some land, what return could the CLT offer?  If it isn't aimed at welfare housing (and I am not aiming that way), then government will want a commercial return - rent, plus taxes.  Is there a precedent, please?
3.  I intend to involve one of the housing providers (Salvos and other church-based agencies), to give creedence to the project, but they are primarily interested in welfare housing.  I am targetting first home buyers, early/late retirees, renters who would prefer to own - anyone really, who is motivated to get into the housing market.  Perhaps it isn't such a great idea to try to utilise the welfare agencies.  Do you have any thoughts on this?
Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
By the way, do you get to Tasmania at all?  I'd try to involve you in these discussions, if that were possible.
Regards


--
Leo Foley
31 Brushy Creek Rd
Lenah Valley, Tas  7008
ph 62 286486
0427 286486

Louise C

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Sep 30, 2010, 7:08:35 PM9/30/10
to Australian CLT Network
Hi Leo

It is good to see that you are having these discussions in Tasmania.
There is a lawyer in Victoria who is familiar with the model and
legislation. Let me know if you want to be put in touch with him.

Regarding returns, the CLT would need to be at a fairly large scale. I
will talk to the people at Champlain Housing Trust, as the local City
has invested its super in the Trust. There are no Trusts that I know
of that have had the City invest land and expect a return on that
land. The point to remember is that CLTs are not property trusts as we
know them in Australia; they are non-profits that hold title to land
in perpetuity for the purposes of affordable housing and community
benefit. Champlain's returns come from developer fees, rents on for-
profit commercial properties and their portfolio of affordable rental
housing. Most agencies that have transferred or granted land to CLTs
do not expect a return on it. It is possible that it could be done,
but you would have to be large enough and have a broad enough
portfolio, such as Champlain's, to not pass on the cost of that
expected return onto residents.

Let me know if you want details from Champlain.

cheers
Louise

Leo Foley

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Oct 1, 2010, 3:59:36 AM10/1/10
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Thanks, Louise
I would indeed like to discuss CLT legal structures with the lawyer in Melbourne.
Please feel free to pass this on, or my contact details, below.

Don't worry about Champlain at this stage.  I'm aware of some of their work, but all I'm after is a model where the rent paid for the land by residents of the CLT is returned to the government (or other land provider) to purchase the land.  Sort of like buying via mortgage or even hire-purchase.  It would seem to be a necessity to arrange to pay back the initial grant (land) if the CLT doesn't want government restrictions and bureaucracy - and I don't.  I think bureaucratic involvement (interference) spells the death-knell for any initiative.  I've worked in the public service.  Without going on too much, I understand just how limiting it can be.
Anyway, for the time being, I'd really appreciate some dialogue with the lawyer.
Thanks, Leo

--
Leo Foley
31 Brushy Creek Rd
Lenah Valley, Tas  7008
ph 62 286486
0427 286486

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Louise C

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Oct 1, 2010, 6:08:31 AM10/1/10
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Hi Leo

Unfortunately making residents pay for the cost of land erases the
affordability gains made by removing the land value from the equation,
so you aren't really looking at a community land trust as utilised in
the US.

The issue of government co-option has largely been tackled in the US
by the three-part Board structure, which was as unfamiliar at the
onset as it is here. Co-option hasn't been too much of a problem with
CLTs yet; however, there have been two fairly large ones (about 10,000
homes each) recently set up with government funds and/or land and the
government, while still agreeing to the three-part Board, have the
final say over the appointment of directors. It remains to be seen
whether that creates any problems. Fairly large CLTs such as Champlain
and Dudley St have government on their Boards, use government funds
and/or have utilised government land without co-option. Dudley
actually steered the City around to accepting their vision as the
formal development guidelines for the area and have power of veto over
development on government land in their area, and yet don't exhibit
the NIMBYism you might then assume.

If you want to do a buy out, those costs ultimately need to be passed
on to residents or other tenants, which to date has proven too
difficult for communities in the US, and often stops intentional
communities or community title developments in their tracks in
Australia as well. One group that has managed to privately fund a
group purchase and then partner with an affordable housing provider is
BEND in Bega, but that was not government land and required a lot of
private philanthropy. They are not set up as a CLT. They are at
http://thebegavalley.org.au/bend.html.

Ultimately I think the costs of land require government involvement to
get CLTs to scale, which means the terms of engagement and governance
have to be kept equitable and transparent to avoid domination by any
particular stakeholders. I think better co-operation and communication
between the public and community sectors are a key lesson that can be
taken from the US and UK uses of the CLT model.

I'll email you the lawyer's details.

cheers
Louise

On Oct 1, 5:59 pm, Leo Foley <fole...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks, Louise
> I would indeed like to discuss CLT legal structures with the lawyer in
> Melbourne.
> Please feel free to pass this on, or my contact details, below.
>
> Don't worry about Champlain at this stage.  I'm aware of some of their work,
> but all I'm after is a model where the rent paid for the land by residents
> of the CLT is returned to the government (or other land provider) to
> purchase the land.  Sort of like buying via mortgage or even hire-purchase.
> It would seem to be a necessity to arrange to pay back the initial grant
> (land) if the CLT doesn't want government restrictions and bureaucracy - and
> I don't.  I think bureaucratic involvement (interference) spells the
> death-knell for any initiative.  I've worked in the public service.  Without
> going on too much, I understand just how limiting it can be.
> Anyway, for the time being, I'd really appreciate some dialogue with the
> lawyer.
> Thanks, Leo
> --
> Leo Foley
> 31 Brushy Creek Rd
> Lenah Valley, Tas  7008
> ph 62 286486
> 0427 286486
>
> > australian-clt-ne...@googlegroups.com<australian-clt-network%2Bunsu...@googlegroups.com>
> > .

Leo Foley

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Oct 1, 2010, 7:05:37 AM10/1/10
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Thanks, Louise
I've followed BEND with a deal of interest.  There is some Quaker influences there, and they did a presentation at Friends School here in Hobart.  I had some interesting discussions with a couple of people involved, but they were already establishing under their 'sale of land' model, and I didn't try to interfere with their plans.
Similarly, I talk to other people here who are developing 'Intentional Communities', or similar, but those are not CLTs.  The idea of not owning the land seems to be too great a leap for them.  But we talk all the same.
I accept what you say about an initial grant of land, probably by State or Local Government, to get things started.  I'd love it not to be necessary, but the purist in me sometimes has to give way to the practical.  Its why I'm talking to a couple of the housing not-for-profit orgns.  They might be able to work better with Government people than I can.  I'd just do the hack work, because I believe in the concept.  Others can do the negotiation of what government would need for itself to get involved.
As it happens, with Tasmania being Tassie, I know several of the local pollies who go on about affordable housing, but, again, the non-ownership of land seems a 'bridge too far' for them.  But I'll keep at it.
In the meantime, I intend to approach a couple of our local philanthropists for a land grant.  That would get us started, without the strings attached to a government grant.  But it might be just pie-in-the-sky too.  Still, I have my targets, and here's hoping.
Cheers, Leo

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Louise C

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Oct 2, 2010, 3:14:27 AM10/2/10
to Australian CLT Network
Hi Leo

I think that the best outcomes in the US and UK have been achieved
when government has partnered with or supported a CLT - this has
definitely created the largest, most diverse and most successful CLTs
to date and as I said, so far without co-option. I think we can learn
a lot from the model of collaboration without domination by any
particular stakeholders and think our community housing sector and
government are ready for this kind of expansion. The opportunity here
is to learn from the trial and error of the US and UK without having
to reinvent the wheel.

I also think the sector will have to be opportunistic at the onset
here, as you are and as it has been overseas, and accept property and
funds from any sources to get started and get runs on the board. As
with overseas, it will most likely get easier once there are some
successes, some actual trust (in people and the model, that is) and
people can be shown proof of concept.

cheers
Louise

On Oct 1, 9:05 pm, Leo Foley <fole...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks, Louise
> > <australian-clt-network%2Bunsu...@googlegroups.com<australian-clt-network%252Buns...@googlegroups.com>
>
> > > > .
> > > > For more options, visit this group at
> > > >http://groups.google.com/group/australian-clt-network?hl=en-GB.
>
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