Tenancy / During a vacancy

Provision of Houses for Assistant Clergy and Accredited Lay Workers

a. The Diocese is responsible for the provision of housing for all assistant staff. If there is no existing housing in a parish where the Bishop desires to make an appointment, the Diocese will purchase a suitable property. The PCC will not be asked to provide finance towards either the purchase or the normal running costs such as rates, insurance and repairs. However, assistance in decorating continues to be greatly appreciated and contributions towards improvements may be sought as for clergy houses. The Committee will consult the Incumbent in advance of any decision.

b. Assistant Clergy and Lay Workers’ houses are subject to all the general procedures of Section E.

c. When a house becomes vacant, if a new appointment is likely in the foreseeable future it will be retained and perhaps, if circumstances are appropriate, the Houses Committee may let it on a short-term basis.

d. Please note the existence of a house (or not) is not a factor considered by the Bishop in the appointment of assistant staff.

e. In a few parishes, houses for assistant staff remain in the ownership of the PCC and the Diocese offers some help in respect of these properties. Please contact the Property Manager.

f. The PCC are responsible for insurance and repair of houses, which they own.

Parochial Assistance in the Care of Vacant Clergy Houses

Parochial help, particularly from the Churchwardens in respect of the following, is always greatly appreciated: –

Notify the police of the date the house is to be vacated in order that the house may have police supervision and notify the Property Department at Church House as to who holds the keys.

Ensure that meters are read and services turned off – water, gas, electricity and oil tank – and that cisterns, boilers and radiators are drained by a qualified contractor. The Property Department will arrange draining down if requested to do so by the Churchwardens.

Please check on a daily basis that all doors, windows and outbuildings are secure, and notify the Property Department and police of any signs of vandalism.

Clean gutters, spouts and outside drains periodically.

Not allow the house or grounds to be used for any parish purposes without the consent of the Property Manager. If should be noted that insurance on unoccupied houses is very limited and could be invalidated by parochial use of a vicarage or rectory during an interregnum. Any PCC, which uses a house during an interregnum, does so at its own risk and by doing so automatically indemnifies the Diocese against any damage or insurance claim (such as public liability, fire etc).

Arrange for the garden and grounds to be maintained in a reasonable condition by voluntary labour. If the PCC chooses to engage paid labour they must meet the cost. If a vacancy exceeds 9 months, or in instances of particular difficulty, please contact the Property Manager.

Cleaning, Utilities & Repairs

Additional Cleaning required after an Occupant’s Departure
a. Regrettably there are occasions when the departing family leave the house in a less than satisfactory state. If this occurs, Churchwardens are requested to organise some voluntary cleaning so that the house is reasonably presentable for any visiting prospective occupant. If you choose to engage paid labour the PCC must meet the cost. Please contact the Property Manager in instances of real difficulty.

Use of Gas and Electricity during the Vacancy
a. Normally these services should be turned off. During a winter period if it is considered that there are special reasons for minimal heating in the vacant house, please contact the Property Manager. If such expenditure is incurred without prior approval from Church House, the PCC must pay the bill.

Repairs
a. If during regular checks of the vacant house, it is found any repairs are necessary please report these immediately to the Property Manager who will decide what action should be taken. No repair work should be put in hand or any expenditure incurred without prior approval from the Property Manager.

b. In circumstances of extreme urgency outside office hours, for instance a leaking roof, please arrange for basic repairs to be put in hand immediately to prevent further damage, and report the problem to Church House as soon as possible.
PLEASE NOTE: Expenditure on the house is not a reclaimable Churchwarden’s expense.

Telephone
a. The telephone is totally the responsibility of the PCC; any outstanding bills from the previous occupant?s private use of the telephone should be settled with him directly. The PCC should make arrangements with the new occupant at an early date for reimbursement to the PCC for any private use of the telephone. During an interregnum it is recommended that the telephone remain connected to retain the existing telephone number. British Telecom makes no charge if the line is transferred to a churchwarden and equally the line can be transferred at no cost to the new occupant on arrival. Alternatively British Telecom offers a ‘Supportline’ service and this enables the line and telephone number to be kept by the PCC during an interregnum. The standing charge for the latter, whilst cheaper, does not allow calls to be made. All standing charges must be met by the PCC.

New Appointment
a. On change of occupancy the Property Manager will arrange a meeting at the house, to which a Churchwarden is usually invited, to discuss any necessary repairs and possible improvements to the house. The PCC(s) are usually invited to make a contribution to the latter.

Insurance
a. After the house has been empty for 30 days it ceases to be fully insured, and care should be taken to keep it secure and, particularly during severe winter weather, to ensure that all possible steps are taken to avoid bursts and expensive consequent damage.

Works to Houses during a Vacancy

The following arrangements usually apply:
a. When a house is vacated the Property Manager and the Diocesan Surveyor consider if it is appropriate for a full quinquennial survey to be undertaken.

b. If a quinquennial is not undertaken, the Property Manager or Diocesan Surveyor / Officer will take an early opportunity to inspect the house to determine:

  • Any outstanding quinquennial survey repairs and whether they are of an urgent nature.
  • Improvements, which appear expedient.

 

c. The Houses Committee decide whether any works should be implemented prior to an appointment being made.

d. When an appointment has been made public, the Property Manager arranges a meeting at the house to be attended by:

  • The prospective occupant
  • The Property Manager
  • The Archdeacon
  • The Churchwarden or representative of the PCC

 

e. The prospective occupant will be:

  • Informed of any works already carried out;
  • asked to list any necessary additional work required;
  • asked to list requirements for interior decoration (NB the usual expenditure limits apply, unless there are special circumstances).

f. Where possible the meeting should reach agreement with:

  • The future occupant on additional works and interior decoration to be carried out and any work for which the occupant will be financially responsible.
  • The representative of the PCC on any labour/finance contribution, which the PCC may be prepared to make.

g. The Property Manager and the Diocesan Surveyor will advise the future occupant in writing of what has been agreed, place orders for work and supervise work in progress subject to the usual arrangements. It is desirable for all works to be carried out at the same time in order to be done as economically as possible (excluding interior decorations).

h. Whilst every effort is made to complete Ingoing works whilst the house is empty, this is not always possible to achieve.

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