Buying land for a charity
Buying land for a charity

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Buying land for a charity
  • Power to buy land
  • Express powers
  • Statutory powers
  • Implied powers
  • Social investments
  • Order of the Charity Commission or Court
  • Exercising the power
  • Delegation
  • Prescribed statement
  • more

If a charity is proposing to buy property, there are a number of issues that the charity trustees must consider. In this context, ‘charity trustees’ means the persons having the general control and management of the administration of a charity (for example, including the directors of a charitable company).

Power to buy land

You must verify that the charity has the power to buy land, whether that land is functional premises, administrative or trading premises or investment property.

Express powers

Ordinarily, the charity’s governing document will contain an express power for it to buy property. However, an express power is often limited to the acquisition of functional property only (in contrast to investment and other commercial property) and any sort of ‘sweep-up’ provision in the governing document should not be relied on as conferring power to buy these other types of property.

Where there is no express power to buy a particular class of property, the charity trustees of an unincorporated charity can amend the governing document to include such a power under s 280 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011), unless such an amendment is expressly prohibited under that governing document. Similarly, incorporated charities have a power to amend their articles of association under s 21 of the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006), to confer an express power