Concerts, keep-fit classes, youth clubs, and even kickboxing are just some examples of how church buildings and church halls are being used today. These may be one off arrangements or regular bookings. In addition to helping the church reach out to the local community, this can generate a useful source of income. So, what do churches need to consider when hiring out church premises to outside organisations?
- Be clear from the outset about what the premises are to be used for – This will avoid the premises being used for unsuitable purposes. If you are renting from a landlord, you will need to make sure that the hirer will “take on” your responsibilities in terms of the tenancy. For example, there may be restrictions on the use to which the hirer must adhere.
- When considering hiring, take things slowly – We suggest an initial hiring period of 8-12 weeks as this gives both parties sufficient time to adjust to the terms of the agreement. Having a shorter term agreement also means you are not over committed.
- Conduct regular reviews – If, after the initial period, the hirer proves to be acceptable, we suggest a follow up every 3-4 months. Whilst it may feel like more paperwork, circumstances could change quickly, particularly if individuals involved at the start leave with new people taking a different attitude to the agreement.
- Hiring inevitably means extra work for someone – This will include ensuring all windows are shut, all lights and other equipment have been switched off and that the building is secure. They will also need to make sure that the kitchen and the toilets are clean and stocked for the next group using the property. You need to think carefully if these hours are reflected properly in the hiring fee as this is often underestimated.
- Carefully consider the impact on your neighbours – Being a good neighbour is an important witness for the church. Problems can arise due to insufficient or inconsiderate parking, especially if the people hiring the building are coming by car. This could potentially cause an adverse reaction locally, so we would recommend careful planning and continuous management. If parking issues cannot be resolved, then not renewing the hiring agreement could be the solution.
- Be mindful of noise levels – Another widespread problem can be the playing of worship music. In CGT’s standard tenancy, it says, “Not to play or use or cause permit or suffer to be played or used on the Premises any musical instrument audio or other equipment or apparatus producing sound which would cause a nuisance or disturbance to the owner or occupier of any land or premises in the vicinity of the Premises”. If a problem in this area emerges, the neighbours may involve the Noise Enforcement Officer from the local authority, which may affect the church’s reputation. If the hirer is unable to control noise levels sufficiently, then you may be faced with no other option than not renewing the hiring agreement.
- Create a hiring agreement – Whenever the premises are hired a formal agreement that sets out the conditions of hire should be agreed upon and signed. For a low cost, we can provide you with access to our Hiring Agreement Pack which can be used repeatedly for occasional lettings (short version) or more regular bookings (longer version).
For more information or to request a Hiring Agreement Pack please contact email@example.com