Following the property workshop at our Charity Law and Governance Conference, we've put together some top property tips for charities. We hope this helps supplement the information you received on the day.
Leases
  • If a tenant has exclusive possession of a room or building, for a term more than six months, then it is likely to be a lease even if it is called a licence. You should take advice if in doubt.
  • Even if a sharing arrangement is for only a few hours a day every week there is a risk that this could be construed as a lease, if in place for more than six months. You should take advice if in doubt.
  • A licence should be for less than six months. Any longer and you are safer using a lease as it likely to be a lease.
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  • Sharing is best approached with caution and fully documented, or there can be unintended consequences in terms of rights granted and possibly even termination of your own lease if the sharing is unauthorised. You should also obtain landlord’s consent if required.
  • When taking a new property consider what information on the property you need to know. This will differ from a multi-use office space in a building to a single-use building or a development site.
  • Exiting a property can be expensive and a surveyor’s advice on dilapidations should be sought. Better still, make sure that the repair obligation is qualified by a Schedule of Condition from the outset, to limit your potential dilapidations costs.
  • Seek legal advice on serving break notices. This is one of the most litigated areas of property law.
Buying and selling properties
  • When buying you need to decide if you will use an option or agreement. This will depend on whether you require a contractual commitment or just an opportunity to buy which you may or may not take.
  • Overage is an opportunity to share in any uplift in value on a property if you are selling to someone developing. Take advice from a surveyor on this.
  • Be mindful, as a charity, of the Charities Act 2011 requirements on disposals which includes granting leases, taking mortgages and dealing with connected persons. Depending on the transaction you may need a surveyor’s advice.
Charity property relocation
  • Plan well in advance.
  • Consider the costs of terminating any existing lease or selling a property that you may have to fund the move and whether in fact you can terminate the lease.
  • Consider the time strain on management of such a move as well as the effect on staff of moving.
  • Consider what flexible working policies you have in place and what IT infrastructure you would need to manage it going forward.
  • Work out how you will manage remote workers and quality monitor their work.
For more information

To find out more about how we can support you and your properties, please take a look at the charity section of our website. Alternatively, contact a member of our team below:

Dominic Curran - Senior Associate Solicitor

Dominic leads our property and development work in the charity, social business, faith, and health and social care sectors. He has worked for not-for-profit social care providers for over a decade on property matters, and has a strong understanding of the challenges they face. Dominic specialises in strategic and transactional advice for the directors and boards on major property development projects. Contact Dominic.

Dominic Curran, Senior Associate

Dominic Curran, Senior Associate

Cynyr Rhys - Associate Solicitor

As an Associate within the corporate litigation department, Cynyr specialises in commercial and property disputes and crisis and reputational management issues. His experience includes advising contractual disputes, landlord and tenant disputes, land disputes and judicial review proceedings. He also advises and resolves clients’ issues arising from defamation, social media, and crisis and reputational management issues. Contact Cynyr.

Cynyr Rhys, Associate

Cynyr Rhys, Associate

Alex Tindall - Solicitor

Alex leads Anthony Collins Solicitors’ property work for charities. He works with national charities, and has a firm understanding of how they operate, and the environment they operate in. He specialises in strategic and transactional advice for directors and boards on all commercial and residential property transactions and major projects. Contact Alex.

Alex Tindall, Solictor

Alex Tindall, Solictor