The Localism Act 2011 established the right for community groups to bid for assets of community value.
When the owner of a property which is listed as an asset of community value (“ACV”) wants to sell that property, there is a strict procedure which must be followed and the land cannot be sold unless the process is followed.
When the owner decides that they want to sell the land, they must notify the Local Authority, in writing, of their intention. Upon receipt of the notice, the Local Authority must then inform who ever registered the land as an ACV of the intention to sell. Additionally, the Local Authority will publicise the information in the local area.
A 6 week interim moratorium period is then automatically triggered whereby the community group considers whether or not they want to make an offer to purchase the property. Should the community group decide that they would like to be considered as a potential purchaser, they must notify the Local Authority of this in writing. In doing this, a further 6 month moratorium period (known as the full moratorium period) is then triggered. During this time they can develop their proposal to put forward to the seller and obtain any necessary funding.
If no request is made by the community group during the interim moratorium period, the seller is free to dispose of the property. If, however, the full moratorium period is triggered then the property cannot be disposed during that time, however the property can still be marketed and sales negotiated.
Once the 6 months is up, and the full moratorium period is over, the seller is then free to sell the land to who ever they choose. It is important to note that the community group does not have a right of first refusal over the land nor can they restrict who it can be sold to or at what price.
For advice on selling an Asset of Community Value, get in touch with Farleys’ commercial property solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.