The Real Estate Advisory Services are designed to assist, guide and steer Church entities with the complex issues around the purchasing and selling of property, as well as the ongoing management of Church assets. Property Services’ goal is to support the Church entities and to extract best value from the marketplace, without compromising quality or adding unnecessary cost to entities. The Property Services team are made up of qualified and experience property professionals, to assist in matters of general property transactions, caveats, covenants easements, lease negotiations, highest and best use of property and the ongoing management of assets, whose primary interest is to protect all Church entities and maximise value. The Property Board have introduced the Enhanced Governance Process for Disposal of Church Property/Asset Sales in order to achieve the best possible outcome for church entities, working within a best practice framework; the following points outline the process:
- Any Property/Asset Sale in excess of $500,000 is to have a co-agency agreement with the Real Estate Function at Property Services, who will manage the process for the Church entity
- Real Estate Advisory Function will work with the Church entity to seek and appoint appropriate and credible Real Estate Agents in the market place through a Co-Agency Agreement
- Real Estate Advisory Function will work with the Church entity to seek Marketing Submissions be obtained from at least two (2) credible Estate Agents in relation to the sale of the property
- Real Estate Advisory Function will negotiate sharpened Sales Agent Commission Rates and Advertising Schedules Rates on behalf of the Church entity
- Real Estate Advisory Function will oversee the Sales Process, giving advice to the church Entity as required
We understand that there is a wide range of skill sets within the Congregations, Agencies and Church entities, along with utilising those skills we believe that with the added assistance and direction provided by the Real Estate Advisory Service this will ensure that all property transactions are carried out on a commercial platform, ensuring a quality service and achieving the best possible result for the Church.
If the congregation has cash on hand for works up to $50,000 and a building permit is NOT required, then the congregation can proceed without Property Board approval for a permit, provided that the appropriate Presbytery processes and approvals are followed. If the project requires access to Property Sale Proceeds, a grant and/or a loan then refer to the process for minor works (<$1m). The following building approval limits have been set and approved by the Synod. Works Requiring a Building Permit
|Cost of works||Funding Source||Approval Required|
|Any amount||Fully funded by the congregation of by property sale proceeds or loan||To be approved by the congregation, presbytery and PART on behalf of Property Board|
Works Not Requiring a Building Permit, use of sales proceeds/grants/loans or formal building contracts
|Cost of works||Funding Source||Approval Required (for works not requiring a Building Permit)|
|Up to $10,000||Fully funded by the congregation||To be approved by the congregation|
|Over $10,000 and up to $20,000||Fully funded by the congregation||To be approved by the congregation with presbytery to be advised prior to work commencing|
|Over$20,000 and up to $50,000||Fully funded by the congregation||To be approved by the congregation and presbytery|
|Over $50,000||Fully funded by the congregation||To be approved by the congregation, presbytery and PART on behalf of the Property Board.|
As part of the OH&S Policy, the Uniting Church require that all contractors working on or at Church facilities undertake an Online Health & Safety Induction Training Course and read and sign the contractor and tradesman handbook prior to entering UCA facilities or commencing work. Please arrange for ALL relevant staff/workers to undertake the induction & read and sign the handbook prior to their next visit.Contractor Online Induction Course Contractor Handbook
Ongoing maintenance and effective facility management is crucial to the longevity of UCA Assets, it is also imperative to ensure essential services maintenance is also carried out in order to meet the Church’s legislative obligations and minimise risk to the property user. Property Services are available to work with Church entities in the areas of Asset Management, Facilities Management and Essential Services planning. This includes the development and preparation of an Asset Management Plan, scheduled maintenance planning and annual Essential Services audits. For further information, guidance or assistance around Facilities Management and Maintenance, please contact Property Services: Telephone: 03 9251 5949 Email: email@example.com
Property Services can provide additional asset management services to determine the ongoing use and best practice around the UCA assets. These services vary depending on the level of complexity with a specific property and/or asset. Asset Management services; may include:
- Reviewing asset and investment strategies (incl. investigating development opportunities)
- Identifying viable development options that are in line with mission requirements
- Assisting congregations and agencies by providing the tools to make informed decisions about the current use and/or options around the future of their property assets
- Financial Assessments/feasibility analysis for alternative options (incl. market analysis, development brief compilation, cash flows, funding/bankability, concepts)
- Managing the development delivery process including sales, planning permits, project design/documentation, funding, construction, liaising with authorities and handover.
- Buying a Property
- Checking the Title
- Checking the Plan of Subdivision
- Checking the Zoning and Overlays
- Vacant Possession
- Checking the Contract
- Build and Pest Reports
- Property Valuation or Appraisal
- Specific Types of Purchases
- Purchasing Residential Property
- Purchasing a Commercial Premises
- Purchasing Vacant Land
- Environmental / Contamination Audits
- Stamp Duty
Are there any covenants/caveats on the title? A covenant is a restriction on the property and may affect the sale or purchase. A caveat is a warning that there is another party with an interest in the property; both of these items will require further investigation. Are there any Section 173 Agreements? A section 173 Agreement, is an agreement between the landowner and another party for something to be done. Common agreements are for landscaping, limitation on subdivisions and services to the property. Are there any registered leases? Until recently leases of commercial property were registered with the Land Titles Office and noted on the title of a property, leases may also be registered by caveat. Is the land within a Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) area? If there is a GAIC notice on the title, refer to Synod Legal for advice as to whether GAIC is payable on the transaction.
Are there any easements affecting the land? An easement grants a right to another party to do something on your land, common types of easements are easements of way that allow a neighbour to cross your land to access their own land, or easements for services such as electricity, sewerage and water. Are there any services shared with a neighbouring property? There may be power lines crossing the property that service a neighbour or a shared substation or shared sewer lines, while this will not necessarily impact the purchase, it is important to note in case of maintenance requirements or development of the land in the future. Is a survey required to confirm the title boundaries? This may have been completed by the Vendor if not; it is a good idea to obtain a building survey.
The zoning and overlays relating to a property can be viewed on the Land Channel website by searching with the address of the property: http://services.land.vic.gov.au/landchannel/jsp/map/PlanningMapsIntro.jsp What is the property zoned? The zoning of the property will affect how the premises can be used or developed. It is important to ensure that the property is appropriately zoned for the intended use. If it is not, a planning permit may be required to allow the use or to rezone the property entirely. A planning permit for use can take up to three months to process and a rezone can take up to two years depending on the zoning and the council. Are there any overlays that may affect the property in the future, for example a public acquisition overlay? Overlays may affect how the property can be used or developed or even renovated. Public Acquisition Overlays are a notice that the government intends to compulsorily acquire part of the land at some time in the future; this will affect the value of the land and potentially the use.
- Special conditions for settlement
- What is included in the sale?
- Is anything to be excluded?
- Are there any penalties or liabilities for delays in settlement?
Vendors Statement – Section 32
- Any covenants or easements noted
- Any leases noted
- Current rates
- Any notices of acquisition
- Confirm the title boundaries are correct
- Confirm the building complies with all relevant legislation
- Any required maintenance
- Any recent work and confirm that the work was carried out in accordance with any permits
- Ensure there are permits for any alterations
- Evidence of termites or other insect infestations
- A residential house
- A residential apartment or townhouse with a body corporate or owners corporation
- A commercial premises
- A commercial premises with a body corporate
- Vacant land
Is the property to be used as a Manse? If the property is being purchased to be utilised as accommodation within the UCA it is important to investigate the standing of any lease agreements. It is also important to ensure that the property complies with Synod manse regulations. Is the property currently tenanted? If yes, is there a current lease? If there is a current lease in place the premises cannot be given with vacant possession, the lease will transfer with the purchase of the premises and the tenant cannot be asked to move out until the fixed term of the lease has ended. You should also check the status of the bond and get confirmation that it has been lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. Is the property a unit or townhouse? If so, is there an Owners Corporation? An owner’s corporation (formerly body corporate) manages the common property of a residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use property development. A fee is generally payable for this service. If the property has an owners corporation, an Owners Corporation Report should be obtained. This report details any planned maintenance to the building as well as any major renovations. The Owner’s Corporation By-Laws should be reviewed to determine what is covered by the OC and what the responsibility of the owner is. If the property is strata title, a strata search should be carried out to ensure there are no pending or current issues, such as outstanding warranty claims.
Is the property an investment or is it to be used by the congregation? If the premises are to be used by the congregation the status of any tenancy will need to be checked. If the premises are leased, the lease will need to be reviewed to see if there is an early termination clause. Is the property tenanted? If the premises are to be used as in investment, is there an existing tenant? If so, are they currently under a lease. Is there a managing agent for the lease? If there is a current managing agent for the premises, do you want to continue using this managing agent or appoint a new one? If a new one is to be appointed this should be done before settlement so that there can be an agents hand over on the settlement date. Is there a security deposit or bank guarantee? The lease will state whether a security deposit or bank guarantee was paid at the commencement of the tenancy. It may also state how this deposit was to be managed. It is essential that any bank guarantee or deposit be transferred on settlement. Is a transfer of lease required? While most leases will transfer on assignment, there may be a requirement within the lease for Deed of Transfer to be completed on the sale of the premises. Synod Legal will be able to advise if this is necessary. What insurance is required, can you arrange this before settlement? There are various insurance policies required under a commercial lease that may not be covered by the Synod’s Insurance policy; this should be verified with the Synod Insurance department, prior to settlement.
Is the land within a Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) area? Are there any existing services to the land? If there are no existing services, the cost of installing services will need to be factored into the development cost. There may be a Section 173 on the title detailing how the services are to be installed or limited the sale of the land until the services are finalised. Are there any services shared with a neighbouring property? There may be power lines crossing the property that service a neighbour or a shared substation or shared sewer lines, while this will not necessarily impact the purchase, it is important to note in case of maintenance requirements or development of the land in the future. Does the land require subdivision? If the land needs to be subdivided prior to settlement, who pays for the planning permits, surveys and installation of services?
- Owner Builder Requirements
- Choosing an Agent
- Auction, Private Treaty and Expressions of Interest
- Contracts of Sale
- Build, Pest Reports and Surveys
- Any Property/Asset Sale in excess of $500,000 is to have a co-agency agreement with the Real Estate Function at Property Services
- Real Estate Advisory Function will work with the church Entity to seek and appoint appropriate and credible Real Estate Agents in the market place through a Co-Agency Agreement
- Real Estate Advisory Function will work with the church Entity to seek Marketing Submissions be obtained from at least two (2) credible Estate Agents in relation to the sale of the property
- Real Estate Advisory Function will negotiate sharpened Sales Agent Commission Rates and Advertising Schedules Rates on behalf of the church Entity
- Real Estate Advisory Function will oversee the Sales Process, giving advice to the church Entity as required
Outlined below are some key points to be aware of and to consider, when disposing of property:
- Was the property built by the UCA?
- If yes, was it built within the last 6years and 6 months?
- If yes, you will be required to provide a defects inspection report from a registered builder and take out Domestic Building Insurance.
- The agents knowledge of the local property market
- Whether the agent has a conflict of interest with the Church
- Reviews or recommendations for the agent, are they reputable? – try putting their name into Google to see if others have left feedback
- Do you think you will be able to get along with them? What is your level of comfort with the agent? You will have to work closely with the agent so it is important that you can work well together
- The fee that they charge for commission and advertising, including any extra fees
- Whether the agreement is a sole agency agreement and if so what is the period of exclusivity
- The marketing strategy used by the agency, have they sold similar properties recently?
- Ask the agent if they have a list of prospective purchasers that they can contact immediately.
- How many open for inspections will be held and when?
- The estimated selling price, how does this compare to the valuation?
- Shop around, it is fine to have several agents provide an appraisal and proposal for sale, you can then choose the one you are most comfortable with.
- Price is determined by competitive bidding between prospective buyers present.
- The contract is unconditional. The buyer cannot make it subject to conditions such as finance or inspection.
- There is no cooling-off period.
- There will be additional costs like the cost of the auctioneer/auction programme.
- You negotiate with a buyer to agree on a sale price, with an agent’s assistance (if you have engaged one).
- The contract of sale can be conditional. With your approval, the buyer can make the sale subject to obtaining a loan, a satisfactory building inspection report, or other conditions.
- Depending on the nature of the property and the terms of sale, the buyer may be entitled to a cooling-off period, from time of exchange of contracts (with exceptions).
- The purchase price.
- Conditions of the sale, settlement date, finance and inclusions and exclusions.
- Proposed use of the property
- Licence Agreements
- What is a Lease?
- Residential Tenancy Agreements
- Commercial and Retail Leases
- Lease Negotiations (Commercial and Retail)
- What size are the premises?
- Do they include car spaces, plant and equipment and any fixtures and fittings?
- Is this a commercial or retail lease?
- If this is a retail lease, do you have a copy of the disclosure statement?
- Who owns the premises? It is advisable to obtain a title search.
- Are there any parties other than the landlord and tenant who need to be involved with the Lease? For example: If the tenant is a corporation, should its directors provide personal guarantees? Does the mortgagee need to consent to the Lease?
- What is the length of term of the Lease?
- Is the tenant to be given an option?
- What is the rent, when is it to be paid and how is it to be paid?
- When is the rent to be reviewed and how is it to be reviewed?
- Is the Landlord offering any incentives – rent free periods, contribution to fit out?
- What other expenses or payments are to be made by the tenant?
- Is GST payable?
- Is the tenant to reimburse the landlord for outgoings – rates and taxes, insurance, cleaning
- Is a Bank Guarantee or a Security Deposit required?
- In what circumstances is the tenant able to assign the Lease or sublease the premises?
- What are the obligations of the tenant in relation to repair and maintenance of the premises, and when must the tenant redecorate the premises?
- What items are to be insured by the tenant?
- What other types of insurance is the tenant required to take out?
- What is the zoning of the premises?
- What is the permitted use of the premises?
- Is a planning permit required?
- Do the premises require fit out?
- Are there sufficient services for staff or other users?
- Is a commercial building disclosure statement required?
- Are there restrictions on after hours air-conditioning?
- Are the premises over 2000sqm?
- All lease contracts must be reviewed by Synod Legal Department and signed by the Authorised Signatories within the Synod.
- The Synod Insurance Department will need to be consulted regarding insurance policies that may be required under the lease.
- What is the expiry date?
- How much notice is required to extend the lease?
- How much notice is required to terminate the lease?
- What are the redecoration dates?
- Are you going to use the services of an Agent to find a tenant?
- Are the premises commercial, retail or residential?
- Does the Agent have experience with this type of property?
- Is the whole premises being leased or just part?
- How long are the premises available?
- What are the outgoings?
- Are these going to be charged to the tenant?
- What is the zoning of the premises?
- Is the proposed use allowed?
- Is the tenant required to have insurance? If so, how much?
- Will the tenant be required to reinstate the premises at the end of the lease? To what standard?
- Is an incentive being offered to secure a tenant?
- How long is the lease? The lease can be no more than 12 months at a time.
- Are pets allowed?
- Is the lease to a government agency? If so are there clauses about renovation if the premises are damaged?
- Term and option periods
- Rental increases Market vs CPI
- Break Clause
- Ratchet Clause
- Out-Goings, including budget and method of calculation
- Sub-Leasing or assignment of lease
- Make good obligations
Residential Tenancy Agreement Licence Agreement Property Reviews< Property Services recommend annual reviews of UCA properties, to be undertaken by the beneficial user of the property. Theses reviews should include the following areas:
- Asbestos Auditing
- Maintenance Schedules and budget
- Current and future use of the property
- Planned capital works
- Long term strategic plan of the property in line with the entities strategic mission direction
- Current and proposed Missional use
- Lease management
- Lease reviews
Property Services in conjunction with Presbyteries are able to assist advice or facilitate various levels of reporting, assessments and future planning to ensure that the property strategy supports the current needs of the Church as well as the longevity of the Church.
Given the broad reach property has in our everyday operations with the UCA, we must be mindful of the various Legislative Requirements that come with property. In order to assist you in monitoring continually changing requirements, we provide links to specific Acts that relate to property, the ongoing use and management of property and the UCA Properties under the ‘Useful Website’ section of the Property services Website. Property Services work with all UCA entities to ensure that our (whole of Church) obligations are met in order to minimise the church’s exposure to potential liability relating to the set Legislative requirements. We will continue to monitor, advise and assist in the area Legislative requirements and welcome the opportunity to assist the Church entities in complying with such requirements and/or providing advice and direction where possible. For further information, please contact the Property Services Team. Telephone: 03 9251 5949 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Property Industry is continually changing, with new systems and processes being introduced almost on a daily basis. This is partly due the various requirements, Codes and Acts that must be followed, and also due to the increasing costs associated with holding and using property. Property Services provide advice around best practice, for property management, property transactions, property maintenance and essential services.
Certain buildings and land owned by UCA are subject to a heritage overlay. A heritage overlay is designed to place controls over modifications to land and buildings subject to an overlay. These can include simple changes to a building’s façade through to the subdivision of land.
If a property does contain a heritage overlay you can view the relevant details in the schedules to the planning scheme on your local council’s website. In addition to heritage overlays, properties may be included in the Victorian Heritage Register. The register lists sites of significance to the state of Victoria. The register is maintained by the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure. You can search the register to check if a property is listed at: http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/vhd/heritagevic
Buying, Selling and Renting Consumer Affairs and the Real Estate Institute both have resources available for purchasing, selling and renting property including checklists and do’s and don’ts.