Community asset transfer

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 aims to empower communities by giving them control over assets so they can work together to make better communities.

The Act moves asset transfer from a voluntary approach by public bodies to one which introduces a right for community bodies to make requests for ownership, lease, management or use of publicly owned buildings or land whether or not they are available for sale or considered surplus to requirements .

We have a responsibility to assess requests transparently against a specified list of criteria, and to agree the request unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.

Map of all our properties

The category ‘non-operational’ refers to property which is held which is not used to deliver (directly or indirectly) a council service.


This guidance is designed to inform community groups interested in a Community Asset Transfer by providing a overview of the process and sources of further information.

How to submit an asset request to us

We encourage groups to submit an initial transfer request expression of interest so we are aware of and begin to understand your interest, direct you to appropriate support and provide you with a contact for accessing any relevant information that you may then need to inform completion of a full application for asset transfer.

You submit an expression of interest either online or returning form by email or post.

Your point of contact for discussing a potential asset transfer will be your local Community Development Manager:

General queries on the Council's CAT process can also be directed to


Validated Asset Transfer Requests are evaluated using an Assessment Framework.


To request a lease or transfer of ownership through the CAT process, the Community Empowerment Act requires that the applicant group's governing articles or constitution demonstrate community control of the group.

This could require a group to make governance changes to be eligible for CAT and applciants are advised to check requirements of community control, which can be found in the Scottish Government guidance for applicants at section 5.10. These ensure that following transfer of an asset to a community group, anyone who is part of the community which the group represents can seek to influence how the asset is used and managed by getting involved.

The Scottish Government has also published model documents with guiding comments for SCIOs and companies with an interest in CAT.

Free, expert advice on group governance and other aspects of preparing for CAT of land or buildings can be accessed through the Community Ownership Support Service at DTAS. Highland Third Sector Interface can also offer similar support.

Confirmation of ownership

As part of the CAT process, applicant groups will be responsible for all reasonable property and legal costs - both the Council's and their own. Submission of a formal request for Community Asset Transfer must be accompanied by confirmation of property ownership. This may also identify other legal constraints on use of the land or building of interest, which could impact community plans for alternative use.

Applicants can obtain a legal title search from National Records of Scotland or a private searching agency. Alternatively, Highland Council Legal Services can commission an initial title search from NRS or a title searcher, on behalf of the group - this will require submission of a £500 up-front bond against which the cost of the title search will be charged. This early legal investigation is a relatively small initial investment in terms of the total cost of taking ongoing legal responsibility for transfer and use of land or buildings as a result of CAT.

Valuation of the asset

If an applicant group wants to commission a third party valuation of the property by an independent surveyor, the Council's Area Surveyor must first be given opportunity to instruct terms of the valuation, prior to it being carried out.

Current Requests

Concluded Requests

Support and advice

Annual reports