What to do in a Vacancy

Arrangements for Clergy Housing during vacancies

The Property Office should be informed by the outgoing occupant of the date when a parsonage house is to be vacated and of the arrangements which have been made for the custody of the keys during a vacancy. One set of keys must be deposited with the Property Office. It is particularly important that gas, water and electricity meters are read and services are turned off (but not terminated) when the house is vacated. The meter readings together with the names of the utility providers should be forwarded to the Property Office by telephone or email on the day the house is vacated. If the house is to be unoccupied during the winter months, the pipes, tanks and central heating system should be drained. (This should be arranged through the Property Office). No insurance against water damage is effective when the house is vacant.
The telephone service is the responsibility of the PCC/Incumbent and local arrangements should be made to maintain the service. During a vacancy, all costs relating to the telephone service are the responsibility of the PCC. Should any advice be required about the care of the parsonage house during a vacancy reference should be made to the staff of the Property Office who will be pleased to assist. The PCC is asked to ensure that the garden is kept tidy and a regular inspection of the house maintained for security purposes.Before an occupant vacates a house, a letter setting out any known problems, repairs required, etc., would be welcomed by the staff of the Property Office.

When a new incumbent is appointed to a benefice it is usual for the Diocesan Surveyor to meet at the parsonage house to discuss whether or not any ingoing works are necessary. At an early stage of the vacancy, the Archdeacon together with the Property Office and Parochial Church Council representatives will consider the future of the house in relation to the needs of the ministry for the parish. If it is felt that the house should be disposed of the matter will be brought to the attention of the Parsonages Board, which will set a process in motion. The normal consultation with the Bishop, Patron and Parochial Church Council will then take place.

Letting of vacant parsonage houses
During a vacancy, it is the policy of the Parsonages Board, wherever possible, to let parsonage houses to suitable tenants on six month assured shorthold tenancy agreements. This policy deters vandalism, keeps the property and garden adequately maintained and generates much needed rental income to offset the diocesan maintenance costs.