Chapter 14 » 14.29

Meeting houses

Sale and other disposal of property

In England and Wales, the disposal of charity land normally entails obtaining a written report from a qualified surveyor acting exclusively for the charity, advertising the disposal as advised by the surveyor and being satisfied that the terms are the best that can reasonably be obtained. In certain circumstances, such as disposal to a person connected with a charity, it is necessary to obtain an order from the Charity Commission. Selling or leasing land which has been held for a specific purpose, such as a meeting house or burial ground (‘specie’ or ‘designated’ property), may well require the specific authority of the Charity Commission. It is necessary to give public notice of the intention and to consider any representations made about the proposal.

Where Friends Trusts Limited is the custodian trustee, holding trustee or nominee of the property, it is required to seal the conveyance or lease and will do so on receipt of the properly minuted instructions of the trustees of the area meeting (or other owning body). However, the directors will need to be satisfied that the required procedure has been followed and that all costs arising in connection with the disposal will be met by the beneficial owner. In the case of a meeting house or other property which has been used for the purposes of the Society the proceeds of sale may form a permanent endowment, in which case the capital must be retained for similar purposes in the future. Further information on the detailed requirements is available from Friends Trusts Limited.

The prime consideration in the sale or other disposal of property is the best interests of the charity. Charity law does not require a disposal for the best price.

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