Leasing, Not Owning

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In the NewVistas model, households lease living space from the community trust, which owns all real estate within the community.((See “Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72],” p. [3], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed February 4, 2017, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/revelation-9-february-1831-dc-421-72/3?highlight=behold.))

This shift from private ownership to week-to-week, no-deposit leasing is a key element that helps make the NewVistas model workable and will add to the quality of life of NewVistas residents.

Problems of Home Ownership

Part of the so-called American dream has been for each family to own their own home.

Unfortunately, home ownership can easily turn into a nightmare for many families. Circumstances may force a family to purchase a house that requires a long commute or that doesn’t meet their changing needs.

Poor financial planning, unemployment, or ill health can leave families burdened with debt and locked into houses they can’t afford and could lose. Home maintenance involves a variety of tasks and expenses that families may be ill-equipped to handle.

Further, changing life conditions mean that a home that matches a family now may not fit as well ten or twenty years down the road.

Over time, neighborhoods deteriorate, leaving the houses less desirable as places to live. Depressed housing markets may make it impossible to sell a home when a change is needed or desired.

Home ownership can make it hard to quickly take advantage of economic opportunities, because owning a home ties people to their existing location, requiring them to find a buyer before they can move to where the best possibilities are available.

Private home ownership can cause problems for communities as well.

People have different ideas about how their houses should be built, which gets in the way of efficiency and consistency. Competition for status leads to houses and lots that are larger and more elaborate than they need to be, which isn’t sustainable on a large scale.

Individual owners are motivated to make choices that may benefit them but aren’t in the best interests of the neighborhood.

At the same time, homeowners need to worry not just about their own actions but those of their neighbors that may impact the value of their own home, thus fostering conditions that can lead to conflict.

Families that dislike where they live or don’t get along with their neighbors typically find it harder to relocate if they own their homes, adding to community friction and disengagement.

The NewVistas Solution

The NewVistas model avoids the problems of private home ownership through a two-part solution involving community ownership and affordable short-term leasing.

All the buildings are owned and managed by the local community trust to which the residents belong, eliminating motivations for price gouging and poor maintenance.

In today’s economy, many people feel that a house is the best investment they can make.

However, NewVistas participants invest in the whole community, rather than in their own home, and they earn a 12% annual dividend, which in most cases will, on average, be above the rate of return on home investment.

Secondly, short-term leases without up-front deposits mean that residents can move whenever their circumstances change or even if they simply decide they want new neighbors.

Because everyone is a vetted member of the community, there is no need for security deposits, making it even easier to move whenever a change is needed or wanted.