Community Asset Transfer

Key rights and duties for community transfer bodies and relevant authorities and framework for the asset transfer process.

Community Transfer Bodies

You may find it helpful to complete our check list to check you can be designated as a Community Transfer Body.

(following extracts taken from Scottish Governments Asset Transfer Guidance)

5.1 To make an asset transfer request, an organisation needs to be a CTB (community transfer body). This is defined in section 77 of the Act. It can be either a community controlled body or a body designated by the Scottish Ministers

5.11 To qualify as a community controlled body, the body‘s constitution, Articles of Association or registered rules must include the following:

  1. A definition of the community to which the body relates. The group may represent the community in a particular area or people who have a common interest or characteristic. The definition should be clear enough to show whether a person is a member of the community or not.
  2.  provision that membership of the body is open to any member of that community 

Membership of the body must be open to anyone who is a member of the defined community. There must not be any additional requirements.
It has been queried whether membership is open to all if membership fees are charged. The Scottish Government‘s view is that fees may be charged, but they should be set at a level that is affordable for members of the community.
Membership fees are more common for communities of interest based around a common activity, for example for a sports club to cover insurance, hall hire and registration with the sport‘s governing body.

  1.  provision that the majority of the members of the body is to consist of members of that community. People (and organisations) who are not members of the defined community may be allowed to join the body, but the governing documents must require that those who are members of the community must always be in the majority. The model documents handle this requirement by providing for Ordinary Members and Associate Members. Junior Members may also be allowed. If the number of Ordinary Members falls below the number of other members, the Board should not be able to take any action except to seek to recruit more Ordinary Members. If the asset transfer request is for ownership, the governing documents must require the body to have at least 20 members.
  2. provision that the members of the body who consist of members of that community have control of the body.
  3. a statement of the body's aims and purposes, including the promotion of a benefit for that community
    The aims and purposes may include activity that goes wider than the defined community, such as raising money for charity, promoting their interest to other people or sharing experience with communities in other areas. But at least one of the purposes of the body must clearly be for the benefit of the community they represent.
  4. provision that any surplus funds or assets of the body are to be applied for the benefit of that community.
    Any money or property the body has, after covering its running costs, must be used to benefit the community as a whole. Bodies incorporated as co-operatives, which distribute their profits or dividends to members of the body, are not eligible to make requests for ownership.

If the request is for ownership, and the community transfer body is a company, the Articles of Association must include arrangements for what happens to the body‘s assets if it is wound up. This must require that the property is transferred

  1. to another community transfer body,
  2. to a charity,
  3. to such community body (within the meaning of section 34 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003) as may be approved by the Scottish Ministers,
  4. to such crofting community body (within the meaning of section 71 of that Act) as may be so approved, or
  5. if no such community body or crofting community body is so approved, to the Scottish Ministers or to such charity as the Scottish Ministers may direct.

If the organisation is a SCIO or BenCom, there will be similar provisions to ensure that remaining property is transferred to another body with similar structure and aims.

5.12. Unlike community right to buy, the legislation on asset transfer does not define what a community can be. It simply requires a community transfer body to define the community it relates to, and ensure the body is open to and controlled by members of that community, and uses its assets to benefit that community. Whether an organisation is eligible to make an asset transfer request depends on their constitution meeting the requirements, not on what community it represents.

5.17. The criteria for community controlled bodies are there to make sure the organisation truly represents the members of its community and is open and inclusive. It must also be clear that the organisation uses its assets and resources for the benefit of that community as a whole and not, for example, for the private benefit of those individuals who are members of the organisation. Ministers will normally only designate a body (or a class of bodies) if it works in a way similar to a community-controlled body, and there is a good reason why it is not able to meet the requirements in the Act. Examples could include a charitable trust which cannot change who is on its Board, or an organisation representing a small community which could not reasonably get 20 members.

5.18. Due to the responsibilities involved in dealing with any property, it is unlikely that unconstituted organisations will be accepted for designation. Organisations seeking to be designated to buy property should be  incorporated. 

For more detailed information on CTB's follow the links on our Community Asset Transfer Support page

Did you find what you were looking for?

Why wasn't this information helpful

Limit to 250 characters.