This new right means communities can ask the council to list certain assets as being of value to the community.

If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, the new right will give communities that want it six months to put together a bid to buy it. This gives communities an increased chance to save local facilities of community value.

The legislation does not give a right to buy the property in question - but it does give potential bidders the time to put a proposal together.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. What types of property can be listed?

To qualify, a property must have a current or recent use which can be shown to further the social well-being or social interest of the community. Social interests can include cultural, recreational and sporting interests. It can be a private or publicly-owned property. It can't be a residential property.

It will also be necessary to show that the main use of the property can continue to meet these social objectives in the future - or in the case of a property where the use ceased in the recent past - that it could be brought back into social use within five years.

Properties which have not had a social use for some years or have been empty or derelict are not covered by the Act.

2. Who can nominate?

The right to nominate a property is restricted to certain types of community group. The first test is to show a local connection. For properties in Lambeth that means the local authority area.

You will need to be a constituted local community group - or if unconstituted be able to show at least 21 members registered to vote in Lambeth or a neighbouring borough. You may also nominate a property if your organisation is a charity, industrial and provident society, company limited by guarantee which does not distribute any surplus to its members, or community interest company. Neighbourhood Forums may also nominate.

Further information can be found in The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.

Nominate a property as an asset of community value.

3. What happens following nomination?

We have to decide whether or not to list the asset, within eight weeks following the nomination. Once we have received the completed form, we will check the technical issues such as the eligibility of the nomination and the organisation making the nomination, completeness of the information supplied, and the fact that the asset is not in an excluded category (for example, it is not a residential property).

Decisions as to whether the nominated assets are of community value will be made by a specially convened officer asset group. Assets that are considered to be of community value will then be added to the ‘List of Assets of Community Value’. Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge and restriction on the title will be registered against the property. When the five years have expired, an eligible community organisation can submit a new nomination.

We will take all practicable steps to notify the owner and lawful occupants that the property is under consideration. We will also notify these people of the outcome of the nomination. The organisation which originally nominated the asset will be notified of the outcome, together with reasons if the application is unsuccessful. They will also be notified if the asset is subsequently removed from the list, following a review of the decision.

If the nominated asset is not considered to be an asset of community value, or if the nomination was ineligible, we will provide an explanation as to why it was unsuccessful to the organisation which made the nomination. In such circumstances, the property will be added to the list of ‘Land Nominated by Unsuccessful Community Nominations’ and will remain on the list for five years.

If we decide to list a property, the property owner can ask for a review and there will be a process for an appeal to an independent body. Further guidance will be provided in the letter to the property owner. Nominators are not able to appeal the decision made in respect of their nomination, but they may be able to request a review of the Council’s decision through the normal channels of scrutiny (for example, a judicial review).

4. What happens when an asset is listed?

The owner of the property must advise us when they intend to sell the property and we will include details on our published lists and we will inform the nominator. If no community interest group notifies the council within six weeks that it wishes to bid, the owner is free to sell their property as they see fit.

If an eligible community interest group notifies the council within six weeks that it wishes to bid for the property, it will have up to six months in which to prepare its case. However, the owner is under no obligation to sell to any community group and after the six month moratorium has finished, the owner can dispose of the asset to whomever they wish.

5. Bids by community interest groups

Who can bid?

Only community interest groups that meet the Government's criteria can bid; not all groups that are eligible to nominate are also eligible to bid.

Community interest groups should have a local connection with the asset and be one or more of the following: a parish council, a registered charity, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee (which does not distribute a surplus to its members) or an industrial and provident society.

If more than one community interest group is interested in purchasing the property, we would encourage the groups to work together.

How do community groups bid?

Within six weeks from the council notifying the community that an owner wishes to sell their listed property, an eligible community interest group would need to let us know in writing that it wishes to bid. This then opens a six month period (from the day the owner notified the council) in which to prepare a bid; this is known as the moratorium period.

We will acknowledge the request to bid and will notify the owner that the moratorium has been triggered.

The status of the listed asset on the list will be changed to reflect that it is for sale and that the moratorium has been triggered.

7. Community Ownership and Management of Assets - Capital Grants

This capital fund from the Social Investment Business (SIB) is now open to community interest groups looking to make use of the ‘Community Right to Bid’ where a building or land has been registered as an asset of community value or to bring empty buildings or land back into use.

What's it all about?
Capital grants of between £100,000 and £500,000 are available to community interest groups who can show they have good local connections, established for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes or a Parish or Town Council. There is £3.25m available to eligible organisations in 2014.

Applicants will need to meet at least one of the 2014 themes:

  • Community Assets - Under the Hammer: Capital grants to facilitate competitive bidding for land and buildings to make use of the Right to Bid. If applying under this theme groups will need to have registered the building or land as an asset of community value and be actively looking to use the Right to Bid.
  • Community Share Matching: Capital grants to match-fund monies solicited direct from communities through community share issues where initiatives involve the acquisition, development or refurbishment of land or buildings. Organisations applying under this theme need to have launched or completed a share issue and should expect to be able to provide evidence of a match for the amount requested by December 2014. If applying under this theme groups can be making use of either Right to Bid, Asset Transfer or simply involved in a straightforward asset acquisition.
  • Empty Buildings and Derelict Land: Capital grants to support local communities to bring empty, abandoned, derelict buildings and land back into community use / ownership. Such sites may have been left empty for a variety of reasons such as through absent or irresponsible ownership. Because they have been empty or abandoned for a number of years many of these buildings cannot be listed (as an Asset of Community Value under the Right to Bid). Generally SIB will consider EOIs relating to sites that have been out of use for more than two years.

Groups established for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes should be one of the following:

  • Registered charity.
  • Community Interest Company.
  • Company limited by guarantee that is non-profit distributing.
  • An Industrial and Provident Society (will be renamed as community benefit societies when the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Act 2010 comes into force) that is non-profit distributing.

Organisations need to have a clear majority of local people or representatives of local groups on their board, as well as showing that local people and groups exert control on the direction of their organisation through membership of the board; draw membership from the area of benefit; involve local groups and/or local volunteers to run activities/services and show they are accountable to their local community and they are able to influence the direction of the organisation through public meetings, consultations, open days, newsletters etc.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate scale, ambition and innovation in the following ways:

  • Innovation either in terms of type of asset, business model, asset or service delivery plans.
  • Evidence of potential or likelihood of being considered an exemplar with potential to inspire others to be ambitious, i.e. national class leadership for a type of asset, by virtue of type of building or nature of community, land or type of business or service to be provided from the building or nature of community it will benefit. Shows potential to stimulate similar approaches and therefore achieve wider replication.
  • Evidence of use of asset acquisition to achieve transformative community-led service delivery or to showcase pioneering community-led planning outcomes.
  • Evidence of an imaginative approach to combining use of a number of policy and/or strategic initiatives e.g. Right to Bid, Right to Challenge, Neighbourhood Planning and Right to Build to meet community needs.

Applications for capital grants closed on 26 June 2014 and pre-feasibility, feasibility and capital grants are no longer available from this source of funding.

However, you can find out more about other funding sources available for purchasing successfully listed ACV assets on the My Community Rights website.

For further details please visit the SIB Group website.