Why a community benefit society?
The ownership of land and buildings can have a huge impact on the areas around them.
Absentee landlords – owners keep properties empty – are common across the world, and can cause problems for local communities.
Landlords keep properties empty to maintain the value of the building in their property portfolio, whilst also preventing any kind of creative community use for these spaces.
Our research has revealed that there are 1,378 properties within the BD1 postcode area owned by companies. There are 23 companies which own more than five properties. Six of these companies are offshore, and 18 are based elsewhere in the UK with no obvious local connection.
We established the People’s Property Portfolio as a Community Benefit Society (CBS) because we believe buildings are more than simply a way to generate money for shareholders or individuals. Our accountable Board of Directors ensure that all activities are in alignment with our ethos of collective ownership.
A CBS offers a better and more democratic way to hold buildings and land, and ensures that investment, assets and profit go into the local community.
Unlike other co-operatives, their core function is to operate for the benefit of the wider community. They are governed through a democratic structure where every member has an equal vote regardless of how many shares they have in the society; one member, one vote.
CBSs can also issue these withdrawable ‘community shares’ to the public in order to raise investment, giving everyone the opportunity to have a stake in their place.