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?
- 2. Who can nominate?
- 3. What happens following nomination?
- 4. What happens when an asset is listed?
- 5. Bids by community interest groups
- 6. Register of assets of community value
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.
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.