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Transfer of assets

If you are interested in taking on a building, you should know and consider the following before making your final decision:

Building condition

Is the building fit for purpose, safe to use and can you afford to maintain it in the long-term?

We will share, for information only, our building reports from the past two years which will include condition survey and asbestos reports, and spending reports on repairs and maintenance. Produced for our use, they may not be a useful representation of the condition of the building if it is going to be used for a different purpose. As part of your business planning process, you should take your own independent advice before completing any legal transfer.

Once a building has been transferred (by freehold, lease or other agreement), we do not provide any ongoing premises support with budget (emergency or planned) or management.

Compliance and health and safety

Owners of publicly accessible property have a statutory duty to carry out a number of ‘compliance’ checks and risk assessments. We will provide our most recent reports and checks. You will need to ensure that you are able to comply with all statutory requirements following completion of the transfer or lease.

Your organisation

We have a duty to ensure that publicly owned assets are protected in perpetuity for public benefit. It is a condition of any transfer that the receiving organisation is another public sector organisation, such as a town council, or is properly constituted as a registered charity, Community Interest Company, or Industrial and Provident Society whose objects are primarily for the benefit of the local community with the power to hold and manage assets written into its constitution. There must be evidence of equality undertakings so that all sectors of the community will benefit and no sector will be excluded.

Type of transfer

As every organisation interested in taking on property is different, options for transfer could include short-term lease, long lease or freehold transfer. We will discuss your proposals and requirements with you and agree the most suitable option.

Community benefit covenant

The transfer contract will include covenants which protect the benefit of the asset in perpetuity for the local community. Generally, these covenants are broadly based so the community’s ability to respond to changing local needs is not limited. They are also attached to the organisation, not the property, so the organisation can dispose of the property in the future, provided that the proceeds are reinvested in providing community benefit.

Heads of Terms (HoTs)

Once we have agreed what form the transfer will take, the main points will be set out in a ‘Heads of Terms’. This will include the key elements of the transfer including:

  • tenure – freehold or leasehold or management agreement
  • details of term, any break or termination clauses or special conditions, if leasehold
  • any special conditions
  • details of covenants

Legal transfer

Once both parties have agreed the HoTs, our solicitors will prepare the legal transfer documents and we will liaise with solicitors for the receiving organisation.

The transfer completion will be connected with completing any service delivery agreements.

Next steps

This step-by-step guide to community asset transfers aims to help organisations who are seriously considering what is needed in order to take over the running or ownership of an asset. It outlines how to progress your application, create the required business case and provides links to other information or resources which may help you.

Please note that while we are able to offer feedback on your application, we do not provide advice to receiving organisations. Where necessary, you should take independent professional advice, including legal advice and structural or condition surveys.

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