What happens when your group becomes responsible for property - either by purchase or lease, perhaps even building something from scratch?

The property may be for your group’s own use – as an office perhaps, or as a base for your services or activities. For example, a charity shop or a drop-in centre. It could also be a community building.  Most of us in this case would think of village halls, but increasingly other types of building are being run by community groups and organisations to provide essential services such as local shops, libraries or garages.

Any community group or organisation taking over the running of a premises will need to ensure that the premises are accessible, and that they are managed with the aim of securing their use for generations to come. 

Building a Property 

If your group or organisation is planning to build a premises, you will need to think about:-

  • securing legal confirmation of land ownership
  • securing funding
  • applying for planning permission and building warrants,
  • appointing an architect - perhaps appointing a project manager as well
  • tendering for builders

Buying a Property 

If your group or organisation is considering the purchase of a property, you will be dealing with:-

  • solicitors,
  • mortage lenders and banks
  • funders
  • decorators 
  • removal firms

In addition, in either case, there are certainly going to be legal requirements associated with equalities (making the building accessible), Health and Safety (including fire safety), employment law, insurances and security.

Help with running costs 

Securing funding for the capital outlay of a building is one thing, but ensuring that your group is able to meet the running costs associated with the building will be an ongoing challenge.

Make sure that you are aware of any discounts and rebates or concessions that your group may be able to claim and benefit from. These may typically include:-

  • rebate on water rates
  • rebate on council tax
  • discount schemes for village halls or community centres

Ask your local Third Sector Interface organisation or Local Authority for more information.

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Further sources of information

For more information visit your local support organisation

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Last Updated 05/09/2012 13:31

Other Community Toolkit Topics to look at:

Further sources of information