Church property can be owned in many different ways and is subject to many different requirements.
Churches themselves and the land around them are usually owned by the incumbent and a faculty is required to make any changes. For more information on church buildings, click here.
The parsonage house is also usually vested in the incumbent, but is maintained by the Property Department at Church House, Hove. Houses occupied by other clergy are usually owned by the Diocesan Board of Finance. For more information on clergy housing, click here.
Church halls are usually owned in effect by the PCC, but the legal title must be held by the Diocesan Board of Finance on behalf of the PCC, under the Parochial Church Council (Powers) Measure 1956. The PCC may also own other property, such as a residential flat for a youth worker or held for investment purposes, which must also be held by the DBF on the PCC’s behalf. The DBF’s consent is needed for most transactions involving PCC property. An application form is available here and in the Related Resources section below. For advice, contact Phil Morl (01273 425 683).
The DBF may also own other land in the parish. Sometimes the DBF has purchased property itself, but sometimes, it has passed to the DBF from a parish, for example glebe land which was owned by the incumbent prior to 1978 but has now been transferred to the DBF under the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976, or a parsonage which is no longer needed following the uniting of two benefices. If land which was formerly owned by the parish is sold by the DBF, the PCC can apply for a grant of 5% of the net proceeds of sale or £25,000, whichever is less. The policy can be found here and an application form can be found here.
When a church closes, ownership is transferred to the DBF. If it is sold, one third of the net sale proceeds goes to the Churches Conservation Trust, and two thirds to the DBF. The deanery in which the closed church was situated can apply for a grant of up to one third of the net sale proceeds (i.e. half of the DBF’s share). The policy can be found here.