From Eternal to Extinguished: The Reform of Municipal Ground Lease in the Netherlands

Part 2: The Reform of Municipal Ground Lease in the Netherlands Since the introduction of the municipal ground lease in Amsterdam in 1896, the conditions have continually been subject to changes. Despite that, still no one is really satisfied…

Citadels of Privilege: How LLCs funnel land rents into the pockets of wealthy investors

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As housing costs continue their inexorable climb upwards in cities across the US, concern is mounting about the role played by corporate investors. Referred to as the ‘financialization’ of housing, real estate is being hoovered-up by massive investment funds with names like BlackRock and Blackstone. With little personal connection to their tenants, these faceless investors engage in ruthless profit-seeking, deploying evictions as a weapon to raise rents as much as possible. The presence of these well-heeled investors is also driving prices upwards, pushing homeownership even further out of reach for the middle-class.

The Dutch Ground Lease System from a Georgist Perspective

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Seventeen years after the publication of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty, the city of Amsterdam decided not to sell any more of its land. Instead they installed a system of municipal ground lease, to ensure the community would benefit from the increased value of the land. The system has been hotly debated ever since, including by Georgists.

LVT on the Ballot in New Zealand

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New Zealand is suffering many of the same ills that afflict American cities. Tenants facing ever-rising rents, young people and ethnic minorities being priced out of homeownership, widening inequality driven by soaring land values, sprawling cities and congested streets. A long and bitter debate that blamed land use regulations for these problems has largely been won by ‘YIMBYs’, with several waves of upzoning producing a budding building boom for townhouses and apartments. While there are some signs that rents may be easing as a result, these problems are far from solved, and public attention has begun to look for alternative solutions.

Moving the Land to Those Who Will Use It

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So wrote one of the original robber barons of the early nineteenth century. Yet almost 200 years later, the idea of holding land as a road to riches is alive and well in New York City. Though, of course, owning land is not so bad when the owner also uses it productively, provides employment, or builds affordable houses. But owning ground to make money on it while doing nothing to it is a problem New York doesn’t need. In 2022, New York City is facing a new onslaught from the financial sector and their hedge fund billions. The city is enormous––700 square miles. But under the current cruel system, struggling families and small businesses have the nearly impossible task of finding a decent location to live or do business.

Vacant Land Usage and LLCs in New York City

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LLCs are a way to combine the benefits of a traditional corporate structure with enhanced anonymity and reduced tax-liability, making them the ideal method for limiting risk while at the same time maximizing profits. This incentivizes land…