New restrictions on community value assets

The Land Registry has offered guidance on new Assets of Community Value Regulations that came into force on the 21st September.

The changes are part of the Localism Act 2011 and have amended the Land Registration Rules 2003.

Local authorities in England must now maintain a list of assets which benefit the local community, such as village shops, pubs or community centres.

Where the listed land is registered the relevant local authority is under a duty (under rule 94(11) of the Land Registration Rules 2003) to apply for the registration of a restriction in standard Form QQ against the registered estate.

No transfer or lease is to be registered without a certificate signed by a conveyancer that the transfer or lease did not contravene section 95(1) of the Localism Act 2011.

They must apply as soon as practicable after listing unless there is an existing Form QQ restriction in respect of the same registered estate.

If the owner of listed land wants to dispose of it they must notify the local authority of their intentions.

A moratorium must be in place during which a community interest group may bid for the land. The owner does not have to accept a bid.

Such a disposal is defined as a disposal with vacant possession of a freehold estate or the grant or assignment with vacant possession of a lease granted for at least 25 years.

In some cases disposals are exempt e.g. gifts/transfers at nil value, transfers between family members, business-to-business going concern exemptions and disposals where only part of the land is listed.

Where the listed land is not registered an applicant for first registration of that land must at the same time apply for entry of the Form QQ restriction in respect of that land (rule 27A of the Land Registration Rules 2003).

For more information please see the Localism Act 2011 and The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012.

A non-statutory advice note for local authorities is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s website.

Practice Guide 19 — Notices, restrictions and the protection of third party rights has been updated to include the new Form QQ restriction.

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