Unoccupied church buildings

31 July 2019

Vacant buildings can fall into disrepair, prey to vandals or suffer an arson attack. To help, we’ve put together some important considerations for empty churches.

Why are unoccupied buildings at risk?

  1. Routine maintenance is often overlooked when church buildings fall into disuse resulting in blocked gutters, slipped roof slates and tiles, which can then lead to water damage. 
  2. Once a church building is empty it can be an easy target for vandals and there is a risk of squatters taking up residence.

The owners of the church need to take into account any risks to the public, including trespassers. The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 and 1984 imposes a duty of care to both lawful visitors and trespassers to the property.

There are wide insurance implications relating to vacant churches and it is a policy requirement that you inform Methodist Insurance if your church buildings are empty.

Protecting unoccupied churches

At least once a week, a responsible person should inspect the premises internally and externally to check for any damage or deterioration in the condition of the building. These visits should be recorded and logged in case a claim is made against the church.

We have developed a short unoccupied buildings guide, which you can download to help you protect empty church buildings. It will help you to manage the risks that empty church buildings present and includes a log sheet, for you to record your inspection visits.

Let us know if your church will be empty

At Methodist Insurance, if your church will be unoccupied for more than 30 days at one time, you will need to notify us.

We know from bitter experience that once a church or hall is closed down, it can very quickly become a target for vandals. In order to maintain and protect the property and your legal responsibility as the owner, you need to carefully manage the risks that an unoccupied building presents.
Call our team for more information on 0345 606 1331.
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