It must be wedding season, as I am definitely seeing a theme in this month’s blog posts! Recently I noticed a “FOR SALE” sign beside a church on Richter Street by my office listed by a local Realtor.
Did you know that a special law applies whenever a chuch is bought, sold or mortgaged in BC?
The Trustee (Church Property) Act applies to every “religious body, society or congregation” who holds property and governs how title to the property is held, mortgaged, leased and sold. Generally speaking, the person dealing with the property (the Trustee) has to be specifically appointed and empowered by the congregation to deal with the Church Property. The appointed Trustees may then buy, sell or mortgage church property on behalf of the congregation.
Therefore, when dealing with church property, whether it is a church building, meeting hall, or a minister’s house, it is important that you discover who has the authority to sign the contract of purchase and sale, and all closing documents. When property is held in trust, you must make sure that the person you are dealing with is a properly appointed trustee, and they are acting within the bounds of their authority.
On a side note, The Property Transfer Tax act also has an exception for charitable or religious organizations when “acquiring property for a charitable purpose”. Therefore where a non-charitable buyer of the property is involved Property Transfer Tax will be payable.