The Property Team currently manage 118 properties within Diocese stretching across both Herefordshire and Shropshire; 80% currently occupied by clergy and the other 20% let on the open market whilst not required for mission. The Diocese implements a policy whereby all vacant properties are let for 6 months during a vacancy. There are rare occasions where timescales do not permit but we work really hard with our Archdeacons to make it work. This reduces the burden on parishes in having to assist in the management of an empty property but also to comply with insurance requirements. Properties unoccupied for longer than two months automatically receive minimum cover which is a big risk over the winter months.
This department also acquires/disposes land and property (both freehold and leasehold) and undertakes asset development work.
As required by the Church Property Measure 2018 the property team is responsible to the Church Commissioners and to the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF) for all matters relating to the parsonage houses of the Diocese. In this way, the DBF has a direct interest in and responsibility for housing, although clergy occupy these properties as either freeholder, under common tenure or under license.
Caring for the clergy housing is a shared responsibility between the Diocese, the occupant and the Parish. Clergy housing is seen as both a home and a place of work. Caring for the property is not only important for the Diocese, but also for clergy and their family. Attending to maintenance should aid mission both now and in the future.
Funding for property maintenance is derived, in the main, from parish share across the Diocese and is topped up by rental income from those properties currently let. Funds are limited and it is not always possible to accommodate all our clergy’s wishes and therefore the DBF has to prioritise works year on year. We have a responsibility to Parishioners to use funds prudently and to ensure that all occupants are treated equally.
Every property is inspected at five-yearly intervals as part of the quinquennial programme. Priority works are then planned for the year. All repair work is managed by the Diocesan Property Team based at The Hereford Diocesan Office, Bishop’s Palace.
includes annual inspections of basic utilities (central heating boiler/fire), together with five yearly inspections (quinquennials) leading to appropriate repair and maintenance and a programme of improvements. Please contact Mike Williams (Diocesan Surveyor).
Planned Maintenance and Emergency Repair Work are generally carried out through a network of contractors with the aim of providing a high quality of response and cost-effective service. These contractors do not exclusively work for the Diocese and often have other jobs planned in so we are very much dependant on when they can fit jobs in. We are lucky that our contractors will often come off a job to prioritize Diocesan repairs but we would not want to take this for granted and sometimes have to apply some patience. All repair and maintenance work is instructed, supervised and monitored by the Property Team in the Diocesan Office.
We are committed to providing clergy with good quality accommodation and providing an effective housing management service. It is hoped that this goes some way to serving clergy and their parishes in underpinning the following principles:
- Good stewardship
- Improving pastoral care of clergy families.