Frequently Asked Questions
What is Community Asset Transfer?
The term Community Asset Transfer (CAT) relates to the transfer of rights in a property asset from the Council to a community controlled body. Eligible community controlled bodies are known as Community Transfer Bodies (CTB). Community Transfer Bodies can request ownership, lease or other rights, such as to occupy or use an asset for a particular purpose.
Is there a list of assets available for transfer?
Asset transfer requests can be be made in relation to any land (or building) owned by or leased to the Council. To help Community Transfer Bodies identify suitable properties for their proposal, each relevant authority is required to publish a register of land (and building) that it owns or leases. The inclusion of a property of the register does not mean that an asset transfer request for that property would be successful. Moray Council has produced a Register of Assets for your information and this will be updated on a regular basis.
Who can apply for a transfer?
To make an asset transfer request, an organisation needs to be a Community Transfer Body, as defined in section 77 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. It can be either a community controlled body (defined in section 19 of the Act) or a body designated by Scottish Ministers. A community controlled body does not have to be incorporated but it must have a written constitution.
A Community Transfer Body that wants to make an asset transfer request for ownership must also be incorporated as a company, be it a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) or a BenCom (Community Benefit Company), with a minimum of 20 members and provision for the transfer of its assets on winding up. The Act does not require a Community Transfer Body to be incorporated in order to make an asset transfer request for a lease or other rights.
How do you apply for an asset transfer?
What support and guidance is available to Community Transfer Bodies?
Community Transfer Bodies are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the Council's Asset Transfer Team via telephone 01343 563915 or by email at an early stage. A key named contact will be identified to coordinate the provision of advice and information from all other Council departments, as required. The named contact will be able to direct Community Transfer Bodies to sources of support if required. Support and guidance is also available from a range of organisations.
What happens if more than one Community Transfer Body is interested in the same asset?
Should there be more than one interest in acquiring an asset, then the relevant Community Transfer Bodies will be encouraged to develop a joint bid. In the event of there being competing proposals, then a decision will be made on the basis of which request provides Best Value for the community.
Will the Council transfer an asset at less than market value?
The Council will consider the case for a transfer at less than market value where the need for this can be clearly demonstrated in the asset transfer request. In setting the price, the Council must satisfy the requirements of the Disposal of Land by Local Authorities (Scotland) regulations 2010.
What information will be made available on the asset?
Where this is available, information on running costs and building condition will be made available. It should be noted that the Council's costs are indicative only and may not be an accurate reflection of the likely costs to the Community Transfer Body. In all cases it is recommended that a Community Transfer Body appoint a suitably qualified professional to undertake their own investigations in relation to their project. The Council will not fund any form of survey as part of the transfer.
How long does a transfer take?
No one application for asset transfer will be the same. The Council recognises that applicants may have specific areas of difficulty in meeting tight timescales, particularly if new organisations are being formed, e.g. the merger of two or more organisations. The Council will do its best to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays and that all applicants receive clear feedback at each stage of their application. While the Council will work to the timescales set out in the Community Empower (Scotland) Act 2015, there are no set timescale for the initial preparation work prior to an asset transfer request being submitted.
Will planning permission for any proposed change of use be required before a transfer can take place?
Where planning permission is required for a change of use, as defined by The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011, then it may be a condition of the transfer that planning permission is granted before the title to the asset will be transferred to the Community Transfer Body. Each case will be considered on its own merits.
Change of use is often not clear cut and we advise you to contact the Duty Planning Officer if you are unsure whether planning permission is required. A Duty Planning Officer is available at the Moray Council HQ Annexe between 2pm and 4pm each working day; no appointment is necessary.
Are Assets held in Trust and Common Good within the scope of CAT?
Whilst asset transfer requests can be made for assets held in Trust and Common Good, there may be legal prohibitions on transfer. Common Good assets are subject to varying degrees of legal control and depending on the particular asset the Council can exercise discretion within the legal framework. Trust assets are governed by the relevant Trust Deed. Community Transfer Bodies are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the Council's Asset Transfer Team at an early stage via telephone 01343 563915 or by email.
Can we occupy the property on a short term basis before a transfer?
If circumstances permit, eg the asset applied for is vacant and no Council services are affected, you may apply to the Council's Estate Manager for a short term lease at full market value to allow you to develop your proposals for a community asset transfer. Each case will be dealt with on its own merits. Any lease granted will be at the Council's discretion and on standard tenant full repairing and insuring lease terms and conditions (i.e. the tenant will be responsible for meeting all of the operating costs of the asset). The granting of a short term lease does not imply that a subsequent asset transfer would be approved.
Community Asset Transfer Team