A-Z of Property Matters



You will be consulted about any works that are to be undertaken on the property. Some of these may be for health and safety reasons or for essential maintenance. You will be expected to allow access to diocesan surveyors or contractors for this purpose. For other works, timing and access will be by agreement.


Most of our properties are protected by an alarm, which is supplied by the diocese, and has a yearly service organised by the property office. If you wish to have an alarm fitted, then this is something you will need to discuss with the property office.


The layout and facilities of the dwelling reflect the necessity for safety, ease of maintenance and the longevity of the property. The diocese recognises that occupants may want to undertake improvements, you may apply to the property office with proposals, and they will be considered carefully and discussed at the Houses Committee. If any alteration is agreed, the property office must approve the contractor before the works commence.

You may be required to reinstate unauthorised works at your own expense. The diocese is working to improve the overall standard of the properties in the portfolio and so will be undertaking improvements as part of a planned programme of works over three to five years. You may therefore be approached about improvements to the property and your co-operation in enabling these to happen would be valued. Examples of alterations that are not permitted include altering any wiring, making openings or doorways in walls and altering or adding to the plumbing and heating systems.


The asbestos surveys for parsonage houses (where necessary) are held by the property office to whom all enquiries should be addressed. No work should be undertaken in your property by anyone until you have obtained a copy of the asbestos survey.


The standard colour for all bathroom suites is white or natural and they are only replaced when they are worn out. If your house has a shower over the bath, the provision of a shower curtain of sufficient length to avoid water draining onto the floor is your responsibility. If there is no provision for a shower over the bath, then there will be a cubical shower within the property. Please note that there will be no provision for a power shower. Toilet roll holders are provided as standard. Please report any failure of the seals around the bath or shower so that these can be dealt with promptly.


Bats are a protected species and there are expensive fines for disturbing them. If you think you have a colony of them in the property, please notify the property office immediately.


Central heating is provided in the property as standard and the diocese is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the boiler if necessary. The property office organises this service in consultation with you regarding access to the property. If you have problems with your boiler within office hours, please contact the property office, they will then instruct an approved contactor. If, however, it is an out-of-hours emergency, please contact our boiler contractor, Blount’s contact details within the section in an emergency. You are responsible for the costs of the energy that you use.

If your central heating is fueled by oil at the property. It is the occupant’s responsibility to make sure that tank always has enough oil to fuel the boiler. If the tank runs empty and the boiler stops then the occupant will be responsible for the purging of the pipes.



It is very important that the boundaries to the property are properly marked and maintained both for legal reasons and to promote good relations with neighbours. If you know that the boundary is being altered, either decreasing, encroaching on or increasing the size of the plot, you should inform the property office immediately.

Walls around the property are maintained by the property office and you should report any damage or deterioration to them and inform the office if you think there is a risk to you, your family or the public. If the building shares an internal wall with a neighboring property, ‘a party wall’, then you should inform the property office immediately of any concerns you may have about it, for example, its condition and any works on it undertaken by your neighbors. If you experience problems with neighbors, including overhanging trees, please contact the property office at an early stage.


If you are unfortunate enough to have a burglary, these are the steps to follow

• Notify the police immediately and get a crime reference number

• Contact the property office as soon as possible • Contact your own insurance provider in relation to your contents insurance

• You can take steps to commission urgent repairs such as boarding up the property to make it safe and secure until proper repairs can be carried out

• Send the account to the property office to arrange for the insurance claim to be made in respect of the buildings insurance

• Inform the churchwardens


All of the carpets in the properties are checked before the new occupier moves in.
If they are in good condition, they will be cleaned. However, if it is decided that new carpets are required, this will be organised at the ingoing stage.
If occupiers wish to purchase their own carpets, then they do this at their own cost but must have authorisation from the property office first.


If your property has a chimney flue which is in use, it is your responsibility to make sure that it is swept annually. We do however make sure that it has been swept before the occupier moves in and that we know it is safe to use.


The Diocese does not normally install conservatories. Where there is one in existence, the Diocese will maintain it.


The provision of a cooker, whether free-standing or built-in, is the responsibility of the occupant including its maintenance and repair. If there is a built-in appliance already in place it will become your responsibility to use, repair and maintain during your occupancy. If you need appliances removed in order to put your own in place, the property office will help arrange to make the standard 600mm space available. When you install your own appliance, it is your responsibility to send the details of the fitting contractor to the property office, alternatively the property office is happy to have this completed for you at the ingoing stage.


The Board of Finance is responsible for council tax payment on behalf of clergy. It is your responsibility to inform the property office of issues such as single occupancy or disability.


It is most likely that you, as the regular occupier of the property, will notice cracks internally and externally and be aware of whether they are getting worse. Most hairline cracks, especially if they run in parallel with the walls and ceiling, are due to plaster shrinkage and can be dealt with during the course of redecoration.

However, if you see one wider than a hairline that is changing or worsening, it is important you contact the property office for advice without delay. A photograph is particularly helpful then a decision can be made on any necessary action.


The fitting of curtains, blinds and their tracks and fixings are the responsibility of the occupant. On departure, these items may be left for the next occupant. If so, the property office should be informed.


In the course of time, the need for minor repairs to the property may occur. You may think that you can do them yourself and save the cost of a contractor but it is preferable for you to refer them to the property office for advice. This is for two reasons: firstly, that the budget for property can be realistically assessed and secondly because something apparently simple could mean there is a more serious underlying problem.


The property office is responsible for these and will arrange for the works to be commissioned and carried out in consultation with you as to timing.


It is important to remember that the Diocese is responsible for funding redecoration when the property becomes vacant. If the property needs painting, then this will be in a neutral colour suitable for the property. If you wish to paint the walls in another colour in the time that you are living in the property it is expected that you return the walls to a neutral colour at your own expense before you leave.


Where alterations are required for the purposes of complying with legislation and accommodating the disability needs of the occupant and family, the arrangements should be discussed with the Archdeacon and the property office. As with all alterations, the cost will be borne by the diocese, subject to it having authorised and taken responsibility for the changes.


The property office will provide a door bell or a knocker if one is not already fitted. Occupants with battery operated door bells are required to replace the batteries themselves.


Drains and sewer systems that work properly are an essential part of maintaining a property as a safe and healthy environment for living. In order to keep them working well, you can help by:

• Making sure you avoid pouring fatty substances down the sink.

• Making sure that those who use the bathrooms and cloakrooms do not flush items down the lavatory that can block the drains.

• Making sure that no forbidden substances are put into the drains that could enter water courses and be subject to action by the Environment Agency, for example oil or paint. If in doubt, please contact the property office. If you have a problem with the drains, please contact the property office as soon as possible to arrange for a contractor visit, and they will advise on the action to be taken.


The arrangements for dustbins and collections vary between local authorities. You are responsible for ensuring the necessary bins are at the property and that they are collected regularly so there is no accumulation of rubbish.


No electrical works should be carried out unless they are commissioned and monitored by the property office.


In the case of real emergency, i.e. fire or flood, authority is given to the occupant to take immediate action to reduce further damage. The property office should be contacted at the earliest possible time and the Archdeacon informed.


Extractor fans are provided in some kitchens and bathrooms and are maintained by the property office but you are expected to make sure dust and grime are removed from the cover and to provide replacement filters.


See Gardens.


A smoke detector will be provided on every floor of the property by the property office who are responsible for their replacement and repair. The provision of batteries is your responsibility.

The property office is gradually arranging for the installation of hardwired detectors as part of the Quinquennial programme.


The provision of garages and parking is dependent on the locality of the property. In many cases, the property has a garage and a driveway to allocate cars.


If your property has a garden, you are responsible for keeping it neat and tidy which means cutting the lawns regularly, trimming hedges and shrubs and weeding flowerbeds, drives and paths.

Trees affect the condition of properties and their roots reach out underground as far as the branches do. These can pose a risk to building foundations. No tree should be planted within 12 metres of the house. If there are mature trees and they are overhanging public highways, presenting a risk to the building, or have become storm-damaged and dangerous, please consult the property office who will appoint a contractor and secure the necessary local authority permissions. Some trees are subject to a local Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which means that they may not be pruned or cut down without permission. In conservation areas, there may be restrictions on pruning and trimming shrubs and bushes. Ivy and creepers can damage the property by blocking gutters and ventilation. Please keep them trimmed and do not plant them near the property. At no time should you put yourself or other occupants at risk by climbing ladders, using power saws or otherwise doing work, which requires specialist knowledge.

Internal fencing will be provided and maintained by the property office to divide the front garden from the back for the safety of children. Fencing will not be provided for the protection of pets. See also Ponds.



You may install a garden shed, greenhouse or water butt at your own expense provided and that you remove it when leaving the property unless agreed otherwise with the property office.


Existing gas fires are serviced annually by the property office.


In the event of a suspected gas leak do not operate any electrical or switch device, in case of sparks, and make sure that there are no sources of flames anywhere. Open all the windows and, if you can safely do so, turn the gas lever near the meter to the off position (usually across the pipe or as marked) Report the leak immediately. Please keep the property office updated.


Clearance of gutters is your responsibility. Gutter repairs are undertaken by the property office. If you have any concerns, such as safety or access, please contact either the Property Officer or Assistant Property Officer. It is standard that the Property Department will clear the gutters before new occupier moves in.


See Gardens


When you leave the property for 14 days or more, for example, to go on holiday, please make sure that you inform your churchwardens.


See Alterations and Improvements.


Prevention is better than cure, so it is important to make sure that anything that would attract vermin is removed and destroyed or, in the case of things like pet food, kept in secure and sealed containers. Spillages and debris that would provide food for vermin should be cleared up immediately. If you think that there is an infestation of mice, rats, wasps (nests), cockroaches or other pests, please notify the property office immediately.


A basic standard of insulation is in place in the properties and improvements are being scheduled in an ongoing plan of works, if you have concerns about this please contact the property office.


This is organised by the property office on behalf of the Diocesan Board of Finance.


You are responsible for the insurance of the contents and you may like to know that the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group provides a special contents scheme for clergy. Their website is www.ecclesiastical.com


Kitchen units are replaced when they become worn out and replacement programmes are planned by the property office and approved by the Housing Committee as part of the condition survey of the property. Most kitchens have spaces for free-standing fridges, freezers and other appliances. Some have built-in appliances and if so, these can be used and maintained by you. If they become beyond repair, it is for you to provide yourself with replacements which are your property to take with you when you leave.


If a longer than normal vacancy is envisaged then attempts will be made to let the property, and this would be arranged by the property office. There are a number of benefits in having the house let during the vacancy. It transfers many of the parish responsibilities and provides an income, which is used to support the work of the diocese. Council tax, water rates and utility costs are borne by the tenant.


The property office provides light fittings in each room, which means a cable and socket or fitted lighting units. You provide light shades and light bulbs and if you wish to have special units fitted, please follow advice in the section Alterations and Improvements.


If the building that you live in is listed, there are additional restrictions on what can be done with the property in terms of maintenance and improvements. Some of the things that you would like to have done may not be permitted and some things have to be done to a required standard. A building may be in a conservation area which similarly means that some things are not permitted in relation to the outside of the premises. The property office will advise you as to whether the property is affected by these two pieces of legislation and how they affect any proposals you may want to make to improve the property.


Window locks will be provided to all accessible windows unless the style of window makes this impossible.


Great care should be taken in accessing and using the loft for storage. It should only contain a small number of items and they should not be of a nature to cause risk to people or property, such as flammable items like camping gas cartridges or items likely to leak and cause damage to ceilings or attract vermin. You should take care to use stable ladders and secure them when accessing the loft space.


Domestic pets may be kept in the house and garden and occupants are expected to exercise common sense about the effects of their choice of animals on the maintenance of the property and relationships with neighbors. You are responsible for providing any additional fencing that is required to keep the pets within the garden and any damage caused by them to the fabric of the property or the garden will be repaired at your expense. You will need the permission of the property department to fit a cat/dog flap and this will normally be granted provided that you agree to reinstate doors to their original condition prior to leaving the property.


The existence of ponds in a property is not very common, occupants are not encouraged to create them in gardens as they can be a safety hazard.


The property office organises a quinquennial survey. On receipt of the report the Housing Committee will identify matters requiring immediate action and a copy of the report will be forwarded to the Incumbent. Other works will be prioritised by the Committee.


Northamptonshire is a high-risk area for Radon gas, each property has been surveyed, and remediation action taken where recommended.


The law relating to rights of way is complicated and it is important to prevent the unintentional creation of a right of way by allowing the public to cross the property regularly over a period of years, other than in using the appointed route to the front door. If you are concerned that long-term use of a route across the property by the public may be creating a right of way, please contact the property office immediately.


You are responsible for these and you may fit a satellite dish at your own expense.


The security of your parsonage house is important and there are simple, low cost measures that can be taken to make your house more secure. The property office is happy to arrange for door chains to be fitted to front and back doors. If your property is not already fitted with external security lights, or they are not working please contact the office so that we can look at rectifying this. If you have specific security issues at your parsonage, please contact the property office to discuss what measures can be put in place.


The property office is responsible for the septic tank and any problems that arise with its maintenance, other than emptying which is the responsibility of the occupant.


Many properties already have showers fitted and the preferred type is the bath/mixer with shower attachment as this requires the least maintenance. Please contact the property office who will advise on the provision of showers. Please note that the property office will not allow power showers. Please report any failure of the seals around the shower.


If you wish to install a wood burning or multi-fuel stove then please first contact the property office who will assess if the installation is feasible. The occupant is expected to meet the cost of the stove and its installation, the diocese will meet the cost of installing the flue where it is economically viable to install one and it has been agreed by the committee that they are happy to do so.


Under no circumstance should you sublet a room without a conversation with the Property Officer


The PCC is responsible for providing you with a telephone line and point for the better performance of your duties. If you require extensions or additional lines, they will be at your expense.

The bill is your responsibility. Internet is your responsibility.



See Gardens.



See Boundaries.



Plumbing for a washing machine is supplied as standard. If there is a fitted washing machine, you may use and maintain it but replacement and repair is your responsibility.



The Diocese is responsible for the water charges for clergy occupants.



The diocesan properties have a very diverse range of window design and construction and some properties have restrictions on what can be done because of listing or conservation issues. Window replacement and all requests will be considered within the limits of what can be achieved both financially and practically.



The property office will arrange for the sanding, polishing and staining of any woodblock flooring that is damaged or excessively worn at the ingoing stage of the occupancy.




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