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Unoccupied buildings - Protecting your empty churches


It can be difficult to see a church that was once at the heart of its community close its doors. However, it’s even more upsetting to see that church fall into disrepair, prey to vandals or worse suffer an arson attack.

Once a church building is empty there is a risk of squatters taking up residence and routine maintenance is often overlooked which can result in blocked gutters, slipped roof slates and tiles, which can then lead to water damage.

As the churches’ owners you 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 about any such properties.

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 because we may need to use this record if we have to defend you against a claim.

We have developed a short unoccupied buildings guide, which you can download, to help you protect any empty churches that you are responsible for and to help you manage the risks that empty church buildings present. We have included a log sheet, in the guide, for you to record your inspection visits.

Download your copy.

Methodist Insurance PLC (MIC) Reg. No. 6369. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. Methodist Insurance PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 136423.