ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MANSE UPKEEP
It is important that once a year the manse is inspected by a representative (or representatives) of the pastorate, preferably including an Elder, during which any repair, maintenance or replacement work can be noted for action. A simple checklist to record the findings of the visit can be found in Appendix 4 of the Synod Manse Policy. A copy of the checklist must be sent to the Property Administrator at the Synod Office, either electronically to email@example.com or by post.
The inspection is for the benefit of the minister in occupation and the pastorate, to ensure that the minister’s living conditions are being looked after and to ensure the minister is taking reasonable care of the building.
If there are issues with the manse that are identified during the inspection, the Elders must draw up a plan of how to remedy these issues, who will do it and in what timescale. This should be done in consultation with the minister.
Gas Safety Certificates
The pastorate must ensure that an annual inspection and service of all gas appliances in the manse is carried out by a qualified Gas Safe registered contractor. It is important that the contractor is asked to provide a Landlord’s and Tenant’s Gas Safety Certificate after each such inspection. This is a legal requirement.
A copy of the Certificate must be sent to the Property Administrator at the Synod Office, either electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post.
To ensure that current legislation on electrical installations is adhered to, a manse should be checked by a qualified (NICEIC) electrician at least every five years. This will result in a report on the condition of the installation and recommendations for remedial work that will range from immediate to non-urgent improvement. The Elders can then create a plan to carry out the identified work.
All electrical work at a manse should be carried out by a suitably qualified person and a certificate received where appropriate.
It is now a legal requirement that a smoke alarm must be installed on each floor of the manse. For new houses and where a full re-wire of a property is carried out, these alarms must be wired into the mains power supply; otherwise, they can be battery operated.
It is imperative for a pastorate to ensure it has adequate buildings insurance cover in place for the manse at all times. Due to manses being used as a place of work as well as a home and that meetings may be held there, a normal domestic insurance policy will not suffice. Effectively, this means that there are only two companies that understand the situation and the level of risk – Congregational Insurance and Ansvar Insurance.
If the annual inspection of the manse reveals an issue that according to Appendix 1 of the Synod Manse Policy is the responsibility of the Manse Fund to pay for, an Elder or representative of the pastorate (not the minister) must complete and submit a Manse Form prior to any work being commenced. At least two estimates must accompany the form.
If the Synod Property Officer approves the application, work can commence. It is the responsibility of the pastorate to pay the invoice(s) for the work and then submit copies to the Synod Office for reimbursement.
Annual manse grant allowance
To encourage pastorates to ensure that manses are properly maintained whilst occupied by a minister, they can claim from the Manse Fund up to a maximum of £1,000 per year for the expenses of repairs and maintenance against receipted invoices. This does not include regular service charges (e.g. heating boiler) or regular garden maintenance costs.
The unexpended balance of this £1,000 allowance in any year may be carried forward to the next year.
To claim the allowance, send a letter or email to the Property Administrator at the Synod Office or at email@example.com, enclosing or attaching the receipted invoice(s).