Part 5, Chapter 3 of the Localism Act 2011 ("The Act"), and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations together deliver the 'Community Right to Bid'.
The scheme gives an eligible community group an opportunity to identify a property or land that is believed to be of value to their social interest or wellbeing and seek to have it registered. Once an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (AoCV) is listed, a community group is allowed time to prepare a bid for the property/land, as and when it is put up for sale on the open market.
The right came into force on 21 September 2012. Currently only eligible community groups, local parish councils, or local neighbourhood planning forums and charities are able to nominate AoCV. More details regarding the organisations that are entitled to nominate assets for placement are included in the Government's Community Right to Bid Non Statutory Advice Notes (below).
Community Groups can nominate both privately and publicly owned assets for inclusion on the 'List of Assets of Community Value'.
If an asset has been listed and the landowner wants to sell that asset, they must tell the Council. If a community group wants to buy that asset, they can trigger a six month moratorium (from the date the landowner informs the council they wish to sell) that gives them a chance to prepare a bid for it.
During this period, the owner cannot sell their property on the open market. This gives community groups an increased chance to save local shops, pubs or other local facilities by developing a proposal and raising the required capital.
Listing a property as an AoCV does not give the community group any right to buy or acquire any interest in the land/property. There is no obligation on the land owner to dispose of the land/property to the community group. Nor does it preserve the land/property for community use or any other particular purpose. At the end of the six month period, the owner is free to sell the asset to whoever they wish at any price.