A recent case where a charity was looking to have a contract to sell a property set aside serves as a useful reminder to trustees of charities of the formalities that charities need to comply with when selling, mortgaging, leasing or otherwise disposing of land.
In the particular case, the charity was looking to apply for summary judgement against the defendant in relation to an aborted property transaction. The requirement for charity trustees to obtain a surveyor’s report in connection with the sale of land owned by their charity has been an established requirement for several years now. What this recent case has highlighted though was not simply the need for a charity to obtain a report, but also the specific content of the report, its timing and in particular, the need for the report to properly consider the issue of advertising the land or property which is the subject of the sale.
The surveyor’s report is important because without it, a charity looking to sell land or property would need to obtain permission from either the Court or the Charity Commission prior to any sale. The surveyor’s report offers a recognised way of selling land without the need to obtain these formal permissions, as it can be demonstrated that the sale is beneficial to the charity. However, charity trustees must remember that the requirements of the relevant legislation should always be complied with before the sale if the report itself is to be relied on.
Colman Coyle has considerable experience in acting for charities generally, as well as in the sale of charity land, and if you like to discuss the issues raised here, please contact either Patrick Green or Philip Otvos on +44 (0)20 7354 3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.