A new legal guide for churches across England and Wales who are currently helping or seeking to alleviate the housing needs in their communities has been launched by Housing Justice.
The document has been designed to support Parochial Church Councils (PCCs) and other charitable bodies to use their surplus land for affordable housing.
While it is a legal guide, it doesn’t constitute legal advice and trustees should seek their own legal advice.
Housing Justice’s Rev Jeremy Fraser, believes the guide will be vital for PCCs: “The Archbishop’s Report ‘Coming Home – Tackling the Housing Crisis Together’ calls for churches to respond to the housing crisis as part of their Christian mission, but our experience of talking to churches has shown that they often feel overwhelmed by the red tape involved.”
“The Housing Justice Faith in Affordable Housing team is regularly being met with the belief that trustees must take the highest financial offer in order to achieve ‘best value’ but this may not always be the case.
“There is an emerging consensus within the Church that ‘best value’ may have a broader context and could include the mission and delivery of the charitable objects of the PCC and how these will be furthered in perpetuity – such as by selling land for the creation of truly affordable homes. This guide will help trustees understand their legal obligations when disposing of land for affordable housing.”
The guide has been supported by the Church Housing Foundation, a recently launched Church of England body that provides practical help to church leaders and dioceses on how to have an active role in tackling the housing crisis in their communities.
You can read the guide here.