Faith based organisations and religious collectives own significant portfolios of land and property in the UK. The Church of England for example has been estimated to own around 105,000 acres of land including farmland and forestry, as well as churches and vicarages. Whilst you would not normally associate property management with faith and religion, the owners and managers of faith property have the same challenges as commercial, residential and agricultural property owners, as well as their own unique challenges.
Contentious issues can arise in relation to the sale of faith property for redevelopment, in respect of occupiers, adjacent land owners, protest encampments and disputes as to beneficial ownership.
Over the years our lawyers have worked with a diverse range of faith based bodies and religious collectives in resolving contentious issues arising from their property portfolio, including vicarages, churches, mosques, Sikh temples and investment property such as housing and student accommodation. These issues often either involve third parties seeking to take advantage of the kindness and generosity of clients or uncertainty as to the beneficial ownership of property assets. We handle these matters with great sensitivity and, if necessary, are able to engage experienced PR professionals at short notice. We slot into and work in partnership with existing advisory teams.
Recent work that our lawyers have undertaken in this sector included a terminal dilapidations claim for a Catholic order in relation to University Halls of Residence and a dispute between two group of Sikhs concerning the ownership of temples and housing.
Get in touch if:
- You are a property lawyer or advisor and a difficult or contentious issue has arisen in relation to faith property that you would like to discuss in confidence.
- You are the registered owner or a trustee of a Sikh temple, mosque or other place of worship but someone else is asserting ownership.
- Someone is seeking to sell a temple, mosque or other faith property and you are not happy about it.
- You have allowed someone to stay in a vicarage or other faith property on a temporary basis but they are refusing to leave.
- Protesters, travellers or others are occupying your land.
- The practice of your faith is being disturbed by the behaviour of neighbouring landowners or developers.