Charity land is a complex area, governed by different laws and regulations depending on the type of charity and what you want to do with the land. Find out where you can get advice and how to apply for our approval where needed.
'Charity land' is land held by, or on trust for, a charity in England or Wales. This includes any buildings or structures on the land and any interests in charity land, such as rights of way or access. Your charity’s land may be described in the governing document of the charity or some other document.
Most charities can buy land for their own use or for investment purposes. The power to buy and hold land is usually set out in a charity's governing document. If your governing document does not include such a power your charity can rely on what is called 'the statutory power'.
We do not provide advice on whether land is suitable for your charity to buy. We advise you to consult your own professional advisor when thinking of buying land.
Find out more:
Buying or renting charity land or property
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Most charities can sell land. Company charities are allowed to sell land because of a power in their governing document. Non-company charities can generally rely on the statutory power.
Although trustees of most charities can sell land without complication there are certain requirements that must be met. Generally you must:
There are some circumstances where you need our approval, for example:
We cannot tell you if selling your land is the right thing to do. We advise you to consult your own professional advisor when thinking of selling land.
Selling charity land or property
In most cases, you can lease charity owned land without getting our approval provided that you comply with any legal requirements.
First be sure that:
Consider getting professional advice from a surveyor, to provide guidance on advertising the lease, and property valuation. This ensures you are getting the best terms for the lease.
We cannot tell you if leasing your land is the right thing to do. We advise you to consult your own professional advisor when thinking of leasing land.
Leasing charity land or property
This is a free service operated by us. It gives trustees peace of mind that the charity's land is still held for the charity even though they have resigned or been replaced.
Charity land must be held in someone's name. Unless your charity is a company or other corporate body, you cannot simply register the title in the name of your charity; instead it has to be held in the names of individuals on behalf of the charity. When the trustee body changes this can cause expense as the land may have to be registered in the name of the new trustees.
A simpler, free, alternative is for the Official Custodian to hold the title for your charity. The Official Custodian holds only the legal title to your land and has no say in how it is used.
Find out more and apply:
Vesting charity land in the Official Custodian
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