How it Works


Housing Land Trusts – a Proven Model

Land trusts in our region are best known for holding land in trust to protect wildlife and special bio regions or farmland. Models in the UK and USA show us how land is held in trust for housing. Near us on Orcas Island, OPAL Community Land Trust has been providing affordable housing to residents for the past 25 years.

A Land Trust is defined as a private, non profit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements.

Legacy was created with the capacity to offer multiple types of housing options to a diverse group of community members. Housing will be created for ownership and/or rentals. Properties can be developed by Legacy Housing Land Trust, by government and/or by community groups.The land is held in trust by Legacy for the community to ensure it remains as affordable housing stock in perpetuity.

Legacy stewards the land, leasing it long-term to the land user who owns the home and other improvements on the land. For home ownership the cost of the land is removed from the equation and Legacy can lease the land to homeowners who qualify for a mortgage to purchase the house. When a land trust home is sold, the sales price is determined by a formula in the land lease. The formula is designed to balance equity gain for the owner at the same time that it sets a resale price that is affordable for future buyers.

Legacy acquires land with funding from three sources: private donations and grants; governments; and contributions from developers to meet municipal requirements for affordable housing. We also accept donations of land from these sources. An important part of our mission is to develop land in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Bridging the gap between the Island’s high property values and today incomes

Affordable Homes Inspire Healthy Communities

Some examples of successful housing land trusts: