Land Leases Without Landlords

25 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2004

See all articles by Shann Turnbull

Shann Turnbull

International Institute for Self-Governance; Sustainable Money Working Group; New Garden City Alliance

Date Written: June 1976


The paper recommends that State or Capitalistic Landlords be replaced with collective ownership and control of non-owner occupied dwellings in human settlements, with the entitlements of each resident in the co-operatively owned property being determined by rules established by the community.

Problems in owning and controlling human settlements are bound to arise wherever developing and less developed countries adopt the methods of ownership and control currently used in more advanced economics. A novel tenure system is described for reducing these problems by motivating and harnessing man's social, territorial and possessive instincts for the betterment of the community.

Alienation of residents from their habitat is an all too frequent problem in "advanced societies", no matter if the landlord is a capitalist of the State. Residents without ownership and control of their habitats are likely to be disenfranchised from participating in the management or structuring either their visible or invisible environments.

The paper argues that the invisible structures of human settlement - economic, social and local government - need to be planned and integrated into the design and location of the visible, physical structures. With proper planning and design the integration of both types of structure would provide an interdependent, reinforcing influence for maintaining and enhancing both the visible and invisible fabric of society.

The new property ownership and control rules proposed in the paper could be introduced into countries with advanced socialistic or capitalistic economies, through an evolutionary process. In developing countries it would provide an evolutionary method for land reform. Specific examples of how these rules can be applied in advanced economies, with no changes in existing legislation, are illustrated by economic models based on commercially prepared feasibilities studies for urban growth areas, urban renewal areas and isolated mining communities.

The new rules are designed to preserve and link both private and public property interests and values by creating a duplex title system. The aggregate result of such a system would be to form a town or suburban co-operative, or Land Bank. The system would eliminate absentee or corporate landlords and allow all residents to become part owners. The economic value of owning public property would accrue to tenants, - squatters and private property owners alike, according to how they contribute toward creating new economic value in the community's assets from their individual needs. New values created by users would flow back to them instead of providing windfall gains to owners.

The invisible structures are designed to allocate automatically, in negotiable form the new values created by the demand for tenure over social assets according to the rules determined by the community. The automatic distribution would be activated by both economic and non-economic (tenure) force's and signals. Tenure forces from competition for territory, possession, power; status and influence reinforce economic forces created by competition for value. The invisible structures are designed to respond not only to economic price signals but also to non-economic signals created by residents voting with their feet - through changing their residence - their hands, or by other actions.

Town co-operatives provide a fundamental social and local government building block for creating a new economic order. The other building blocks created from new ways for owning enterprises and natural resources are described in the author's book, Democratising the Wealth of Nations. The paper explains how the new tenure systems proposed for owning enterprises and resources are symbiotic and self-reinforcing with the operation of land leases without landlords.

Keywords: Community, Co-operative, Duplex title, Dynamic tenure, Human settlements, Land Banks, Land tenure, Local government, Squatter, Tenant co-ownership

JEL Classification: H11, R19, O18, P11, P13, P16, P32, P41, Q15,

Suggested Citation

Turnbull, Shann, Land Leases Without Landlords (June 1976). Available at SSRN: or

Shann Turnbull (Contact Author)

International Institute for Self-Governance ( email )

PO Box 266 Woollahra
Cell: +61418222378
Sydney, New South Wales 1350
+61293278487 (Phone)
+61280655905 (Fax)

SKYPE: shann.turnbull

Sustainable Money Working Group ( email )

Holyoake House
Hanover Street
Manchester, M60 0AS
United Kingdom

New Garden City Alliance ( email )

113 Guinness Court
London, UK, SE1 3TA
United Kingdom
+44 207 378 1902 (Phone)


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