Chicago Community Land Trust for Developers

The Chicago Community Land Trust (CCLT) was founded in 2006 to address the increasingly limited supply of funding for affordable housing. The goal of the CCLT is to preserve the long-term affordability of homes created through City of Chicago programs to:

  • Preserve the public & private subsidies used to make the homes affordable
  • Maintain a permanent pool of homeownership opportunities for working families

The CCLT is a non-profit corporation, with a board of directors appointed by the mayor and approved by the Chicago City Council. It operates citywide and is administered and staffed by the Chicago Department of Housing. Once the CCLT acquires 200 homes, one-third of the board will consist of CCLT homeowners.

Developing Affordable Homes for the CCLT

CCLT works in combination with City programs such as the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. Developers must follow application processes and development guidelines associated with the specific City program under which they are building, receiving any subsidies or incentives associated with that program. Units built under these programs will also be held to CCLT guidelines, ensuring that they remain permanently affordable.

CCLT Eligibility Review
All affordable homeownership units created through City programs are considered for inclusion in the CCLT. In neighborhoods where the market value of units is at least $25,000 higher than the affordable prices for the proposed development, the affordable units will be included in the CCLT. Additional market data from the developer may be requested to complete this analysis.

Deed Covenant
Upon purchase of a CCLT home, the initial homebuyer enters into a 30-year Deed Covenant with the CCLT. The Deed Covenant preserves the affordability of the home over time by requiring that the home be resold to another income-qualified buyer at an affordable price. Sellers then earn back their initial purchase price plus a share of the market appreciation with the remaining equity, including the subsidies that made the unit affordable, stays with the home providing savings to another low- to moderate-income family. The Deed Covenant takes the place of many of the City's junior mortgages required under its programs.

Condominium Declarations
Some provisions typically included in condominium declarations can conflict with provisions in the Deed Covenant. When this occurs, condo developers will be required to add qualifying language to the Declaration stipulating that in the event of a conflict, the Deed Covenant will prevail for the affordable units. The CCLT can work directly with the developer's attorney to address any questions or concerns.

Benefits of CCLT Home Ownership

Homeowner Benefits: Community Benefits:
Opportunity to move from renting to ownership Efficient use of public resources
Wealth creation Permanent pool of affordable homes
Reduced property taxes Sustain mixed-income communities
Pre- and post-purchase assistance Foreclosure protection

Developer Resources include:

  • Assistance in marketing CCLT units
  • Access to homebuyer counseling and educational materials specific to the CCLT
  • Income qualification of prospective homebuyers
  • A pool of lenders who are educated about the CCLT and willing to provide mortgages to qualified homebuyers
  • A pool of buyer attorneys who are trained on the CCLT and the City programs and process
  • Education and on-going technical assistance for developers and homebuyers

For more information on CCLT or to register for the workshops on "How to Purchase Affordable Homes Through the City's Homeownership Programs" call 312.744.2967.


Marketing CCLT Homes
Contact the CCLT approximately six months prior to completion of the units to begin the marketing process. Presale marketing is also available once the project has been approved by the City. Units will be listed on the City's website, through its partner agencies, and direct outreach to prospective buyers. Buyers will be directed to contact the developer to sign a purchase contract.

All buyers must complete general first-time homebuyer, condo and CCLT training. They must be pre-approved with a CCLT participating lender and be income-qualified under program guidelines. Developers will receive a packet on the qualification process to give to prospective buyers. The City will conduct final income qualification, though it is recommended that developers confirm buyers are qualified prior to signing contracts. If a contracted buyer is not qualified, the contract will be terminated.

Contract & Closing Process


  • Earnest money requirement should be reasonable - $1,000
  • Condo developers should not escrow property taxes if the senior mortgage lender is escrowing taxes
  • Documents to be attached to purchase contract - provided by CCLT:
    • City/CCLT Purchase Contract Rider - executed by seller and purchaser
    • Form of Deed Covenant - not to be executed until closing
    • Deed Covenant Exhibit B - Homeowner's Acknowledgment of Affordability Restrictions, completed and signed by purchaser

Developers must complete the City's closing request form and submit it along with the required documentation - certificate of occupancy, water certification, title commitment report, and wire instructions. Once the request is complete and the buyer approved, closing can take place in 10 to 15 business days.

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