The Community Right to Bid is one of the new community rights introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and the Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012 and came into force on 21 September 2012.
Voluntary or community groups with a local connection can nominate a building or land as an asset of community value. It does not matter whether the property is in public or private ownership. However, the law says that certain buildings or land cannot be listed and these include residential property in general and land connected with the residence such as gardens and outbuildings.
If the Council agrees that the principal use of the property furthers the social wellbeing or social interests (including in particular, cultural, recreational and sporting interests) of the local community then the property will be listed as an asset of community value.
This means that when the owner decides to sell or lease the property with vacant possession on the open market then community interest groups will be given a time-limited opportunity to raise money to bid for the asset.
To be able to bid for an asset, community interest groups (except for parish councils) must be structured in a certain way and must be a charity, a company limited by guarantee, an industrial or provident society or a community interest company.
Once an asset of community value has been listed then the owner has to notify the City Council when they intend to sell or lease the asset. A community interest group will then have six weeks to express an interest in being treated as a potential bidder for the asset. If they do so then the group will have a total of six months to bid for the asset after which time the property owner will be free to sell to whomever they choose and at whatever price.
It is important to note that the Community Right to Bid provides community interest groups with an opportunity to bid for assets of community value but this is not a preferential right and any bids are considered in competition with other interested parties.