Making Charity property transactions simpler - hope on the horizon?
On 14 September, the Law Commission issued a report on Technical Issues in Charity Law and has made a series of fairly radical recommendations to make the acquisition and disposal of property by a Charity simpler, including transactions involving designated land and the rules around connected persons.
The Law Commission has recognised the time, administrative burden and expense that can ensue from the current arrangements for property disposals set out in the Charities Act 2011, and hopes that the changes will enable charities to concentrate their resources on their charitable causes.
In a nutshell, the recommendations are:
- To give trustees the flexibility to decide when to get valuation advice.
- Expanding the list of people who can provide valuation advice from RICS surveyors to include suitably qualified charity trustees and employees.
- Simplifying the advice to be provided in the valuation report itself.
- Removing the current advertising requirements including the enhanced requirements to advertise when disposing of designated land.
- Relaxing the list of "connected persons".
- That the Charity Commission relaxes its guidance on property acquisitions in line with the changes recommended for disposals, including allowing charity trustees not to take valuation advice in certain circumstances.
So far, so sensible and these recommendations reflect the views that charity lawyers have expressed for decades. However, with successive governments ignoring such reports unless they solve a pressing problem, only time will tell if these recommendations will ever be implemented.