CARE OF THE PARSONAGE/DBF HOUSE DURING A VACANCY A guide for Incumbents and Parishes
Care of the house during a vacancy remains one of the primary responsibilities of the churchwardens as local sequestrators. Responsibilities are as follows:
1. Before the Incumbent vacates:
Incumbents are responsible for their removal arrangements, and in particular the disposal of any unwanted possessions along with the final cleaning of the house. It should be both clean and completely empty (including garages and outhouses) for the next occupant. If this is not possible you should negotiate with the PCC to arrange for a final cleaning after the removal has been completed.
Inform the telephone service provider of the date from which the service is no longer required. Arrangements should be made for the number to be retained and calls to be redirected to someone else in the parish e.g. churchwarden or parish office.
Notify gas and electricity providers of the final meter readings and let the Property Department have a copy for its records.
Please leave the heating set at 15oC to come on twice per day (2hrs in the morning and 2hrs at night 8pm -10pm). During extremely cold spells please set for longer and where possible open the loft hatch to help protect water tanks in the roof space. If the house operates on oil please alert the Property Department if the supply is low.
Incumbents are responsible for arranging the re-direction of their mail with the Post Office, and ensuring the parish also set up re-directions for any parish mail that they had sent to the vicarage on a regular basis. Should mail be delivered when the property is vacant it should be collected by a Church Warden or parish representative and, if appropriate, sent to the Property Department.
The Day of Departure
On the day of departure, ensure that all doors are locked and bolted, and windows shut and secure. Hand over all the external keys to the sequestrators at the time of departure, together with the alarm code. Please do not lock internal doors. Notify the Police and Neighbourhood Watch that the house is empty. All PCC items including photocopiers and files should be removed for safekeeping.
2. Once the house has been vacated:
Any house left empty is vulnerable to unwanted attention. Regular visits to the house by members of the parish are essential in reducing the risks and in maintaining security. There are a number of measures that should be adopted to reduce the risk of incidents occurring:
Post: A build up of post is an obvious sign that the house is empty, and should be collected every few days.
Lights: Most houses will have external sensory security lighting around the perimeter of the property.
In addition, it is advisable that the parish place a couple of lamps on timer switches in the house.
Alarm: The alarm should be set at all times.
Curtains: If there are any missing curtains we ask that the parish provide replacements so as to prevent the house looking empty.
Arrangements should be made to cut the lawn between March and September at three weekly intervals. Reasonable costs will be met but only following prior consultation with the Property Department.
4. Interregnum Visit:
The Property Department will be in touch to arrange a visit to inspect the house to note its condition and necessary repairs/improvements. The group will include the Archdeacon, Senior Property Manager, Diocesan Surveyor and Churchwarden/s.
5. Letting the Property:
If a longer than normal vacancy is envisaged attempts will be made to let the property, and this would be arranged by the Property Department. There are a number of benefits in having the house let during the vacancy. It transfers many of the parish responsibilities and provides an income which is used to support the work of the diocese. Council tax, water rates and utility costs will be borne by the tenant.
Any damage to the property or any emergency repairs should be referred to the Property Department in order that the appropriate arrangements are made.
Thank you for your assistance, hard work and commitment in undertaking these duties.
The Property Department is on hand to respond to any concerns or queries and to provide as much support and help as possible:
Telephone: 0116 2615 316
Telephone: 0116 261 5315
Updated December 2013