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Community land trust talks terms of lease

The Columbia Community Land Trust discussed the terms of the 99-year leases it would offer to future tenants.

ABC 17 News has covered the work of the CCLT since its start earlier this year. The group will manage the land that will soon sport affordable housing in central Columbia. Board members expect the four-home Lynn Street Cottages to be available in early 2018, with construction starting in August. The homes, built by R. Anthony Development Group, are expected to cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

Board members put some finishing touches on the ground lease at its meeting Tuesday night. The CCLT will own the land and sell the homes to people within certain income levels. The ground lease dictates rules on what people can and can’t do with the space. Homeowners are required to sell the home either to the CCLT or to another person who qualifies based on their income, unless given permission by the CCLT to sell it to someone else.

Board members also decided to create a maintenance reserve fund for their tenants. The fund would come from money from the sale of the home as well as monthly fees charged to tenants. The board decided on a $30 lease fee and a $10 reserve fund fee. Board president Paul Prevo said the CCLT will own the fund but tenants can tap money from it when needed for home repairs.

“We have a responsibility to the homeowners to make sure that they have an education that they understand what it takes to maintain a home, what homeownership really means,” Prevo said. “We want to help provide the means and the education so that they can keep their homes up, and really help this program in perpetuity.”

The ground lease requires homeowners to use the land “in a way that will not cause harm to others or create any public nuisance.” It can only be used for residential purposes, and tenants have to stay in the home for at least 10 months out of the year. The CCLT can inspect the land but not the inside of the home as long as it gives the homeowner 48-hours’ notice.

Prevo said the CCLT has not decided how it will handle applications for the Lynn Street Cottages. Prevo expected to get at least 75 applications for the four homes.

“We can really afford to have some affordable housing in this community,” Prevo said. “We need some good housing, strong neighborhoods and a place for our workforce to call home.”

The board had to make purchases of both general liability and builders risk insurance at a cost of more than $5,000. Members agreed to include such services in future requests for contractors to build homes.

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