August 7, 2023
Our August 2023 summary of the latest developments in Property law and practice is as follows:
Charity Land Ownership
A commencement order made under the Charities Act 2022 has brought into force, effective from 14 June 2023, a number of amendments made by that Act to the rules affecting charity property ownership and disposals under the Charities Act 2011, including:
- Clarifying when land is held in trust – restrictions imposed on a charity disposing of land are only intended to apply where the whole of the relevant land is held by the charity solely for its own benefit and not where the land is held for the benefit of the charity and other persons. The restrictions would still apply if the charity, as one of several tenants in common, was separately disposing of its share in land.
- Obtaining a report – instead of requiring a qualified surveyor to issue the written report on a proposed disposition before entering a contract, a “designated adviser” is permitted. This includes fellows of the National Association of Estate Agents and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.
- Advertising proposed dispositions – the automatic statutory requirement for advertising a proposed disposition as advised in the surveyor’s report under section 119(1)(b) CA 2011 has been removed. Instead, the trustees must consider the report that has been obtained in relation to the disposition which may recommend a period of advertising.
- Connected persons – a new “connected person” exception is introduced which excepts a disposition in favour of a person who is an employee of the charity where the disposition is the grant of a tenancy for a fixed term of one year or less, or on a periodic tenancy (yearly or less), and which confers the right to occupy a dwelling as a home.
As a result of these changes, the Charity Commission has updated its guidance notes: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/list-of-charity-commission-cc-guidance-publications
Register of Overseas Entities
The Government has published various updates in relation to the Register of Overseas Entities. These include:
- A guide provided by Companies House to its approach to enforcement of the new regime for registration of the entity and subsequent updating of information;
- Information on how to file an update statement for an overseas entity and its beneficial owners and managing officers; and
- An updated list of regulated agents who may be used for verification and registration purposes. The key point is that, for registration at Companies House, a UK-regulated agent is required to complete verification checks.