Minimum Standards For Clergy Housing

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  1. When consideration is given to the purchasing of new property for the housing of clergy or to the modernising/upgrading and the continual maintenance of existing property, priority should be given to the standards set out below. Any deviation from these standards must be agreed with the Diocesan Building Committee prior to purchase or to the modernisation/upgrading of the property. All documentation concerning the property for housing the clergy should be contained in a Property Register designated to the property, with a specific person, normally the Property Convener, having delegated responsibility for its upkeep (see 3 below).
  2. All clergy housing should conform to the requirements of the Equality Act as far as it applies to clergy properties where public access is permitted for study groups, meetings etc. In this case it is desirable that the proposed meeting room be on the ground floor, that it enables access for all and that accessible toilet facilities are also available on the ground floor. Reasonable adjustments may also need to be made for clergy and family. In such circumstances it is suggested that vestries should contact their Diocesan Buildings Committee at the earliest possible stage for guidance.
  3. All clergy housing should be properly insured by a recognised insurer (Canon 60) and where contents contained in the property belong to the Vestry, they should be detailed on an inventory, which should be audited annually, and the contents should be properly insured by a recognised insurer.
  4. The titles of clergy housing should be lodged, for safe keeping, in accordance with Canon 61, Resolution 7. The property should not be disposed of without the written consent of the Diocesan Trustees.  Any alteration/modernisation/improvement to the property and/or grounds should be approved in writing by the legal owners of clergy housing including the Diocesan Trustees if they are the owners of the property prior to the commencement of work.

Housing standards

  1. The minimum standard for housing for principal clergy should not be less than three principal rooms comprising: a lounge, a dining room, a study, four bedrooms (at least two of which should be double bedrooms), a bathroom with bath/shower and flush toilet, a separate second flush toilet, kitchen and utility room (the kitchen and utility room need not be separate, but, if not, the kitchen should contain adequate space for utility functions). It is suggested that the total floor area of the property, including the study, should be at least 119 sq. m. Further details of standards for room space can be found at
  2. The public rooms should be of adequate proportions for clergy with spouse and family; the property should have a hot water system with plumbing to modern standards for the kitchen, bathroom/shower room, utility room and toilets, which is thermostatically controlled; a central heating system in all rooms, also which is thermostatically controlled.
  3. All floor surfaces in clergy housing, including stairs, should be provided with adequate safe covering in keeping with the property and the vestry should ensure that it is properly maintained.
  4. All rooms should be supplied with adequate electrical point outlets for portable appliances, except for the bathroom/shower room when these should be fixed outlets. As a guide ( the house should be provided with at least 4 13A socket outlets within each room, and 6 within the kitchen, at least 3 of which should be situated above worktop level in addition to any outlets provided for floor-standing white goods or built-in appliances, and an additional 4 anywhere in the dwelling, including at least 1 within each circulation area on a level or storey. These, and their associated wiring, should be in accordance with the current Electricity Supply Regulations. It is recommended that an Electrical Installation Condition Report be obtained.

    The lounge should normally be provided with connections for a TV.

    The Vestry should arrange the provision of a land-line telephone and adequate broadband or suitable internet connection for the use of the cleric during his/her duties; the cost of the installation, line rental, equipment and business call charges and business broadband usage should be paid by the Vestry, subject always to correct tax treatment.

  5. The kitchen should be provided with sufficient cupboard space at floor level and cupboards at a convenient height on the wall(s) with adequate non-contaminating working surfaces; a sink with single/double drainer; a cooker, either electric or gas supplied; space for a refrigerator and preferably space for a dishwasher with water and power supply, and a waste outlet.
  6. The utility room should be provided with hot and cold-water supplies for a sink and for a washing machine with a separate waste outlet. There should also be space with power supply for a deep freezer.
  7. Rooms with toilets should be provided with a hand basin with hot and cold running water for handwashing.
  8. All rooms with windows should, where possible, contain double-glazing or where this is not possible secondary glazing should be fitted, but ensuring always that adequate ventilation exists where such secondary glazing is fitted. Alternatively, where the installation of double glazing would be inappropriate or disallowed (e.g., a listed building or a building in a conservation area) refurbishment of windows – draughtproofing, overhaul and tightening of moving parts – and the provision of working shutters or heavy curtains should be considered. Where existing windows are designed as fire escapes secondary glazing, if fitted, should not impede escape.
  9. The property should have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least C. It is recommended that when there is a change of incumbent an EPC be obtained for the property. Should the rating be lower than C then the vestry should consider taking remedial action or offering an appropriate heating allowance.

Property Maintenance

  1. The care of all clergy housing is the responsibility of the Vestry of the Charge (Canon 60); the Vestry should ensure that the properties are adequately maintained and modernised to present day standards and requirements. A specific person, normally the Property Convener, should be nominated to take responsibility for ongoing maintenance of the property and report to the vestry. A Routine Maintenance Plan should be developed for each property by that person, and they should ensure that the plan is effected.
  2. All clergy housing should be subject to a Quinquennial Inspection, instituted by the Vestry, by a suitably qualified architect/surveyor. Guidance on the preparation of the report can be found at The Vestry should ensure that the recommendations for work to be carried out in the categories of Urgent, Recommended, Desirable of the report are expeditiously acted upon. A copy of the report and the proposed actions from the report should be forwarded to the Diocesan Buildings Committee within three months of the receipt of the report by the Vestry.
  3. All clergy housing which is “listed” under the Historic Environment Scotland Listed Buildings legislation must be maintained in accordance with their requirements; no alteration or improvement should be entered into without listed building consent.
  4. The Vestry should ensure that the grounds, within which clergy housing is situated, are maintained to a reasonable standard; that party walls/fences/hedges are correctly maintained; that trees on the property are maintained to national and/or local authority standards and do not interfere with neighbouring properties as far as encroachment.
  5. During a vacancy of a cleric, the Vestry should take the opportunity to have the property surveyed by a competent architect/surveyor, (even if this is between quinquennial inspections), and carry out modernisation/alteration/long term maintenance as agreed with the Diocesan Buildings Committee to bring the property up to the required standards of the day.
  6. On the appointment of a new cleric, and before he/she takes occupancy, the Vestry should consult the new occupant as to the internal decor of the property, which should be to a reasonable standard.
  7. Where clergy housing requires alteration, the vestry should bear in mind that they may be required to get approval from the Diocesan Buildings Committee under Canon 35.
  8. Dioceses should regularly review with the clergy the suitability of their housing. Where problems are encountered then vestries should be encouraged to upgrade the property or, if this proves impractical, to acquire a replacement rectory.
  9. Vestries should be aware that funding sources are available for the maintenance/modernisation/improvement of properties for clergy. Information about such grants is available at: and the Diocesan/Provincial treasurer should be consulted about applications.


  1. There should be adequate security protection as advised by the local Crime Prevention Officer. Such protection should be regularly reviewed to ensure compliance with the requirements of the protection system and appropriate records should be kept. The Vestry should ensure that there is adequate outside illumination for security and the prevention of accidents.
  2. Fire protection must comply with the Scottish government regulations which can be found at To summarise there should be:
    • One smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used for general daytime living purposes
    • One smoke alarm in every circulation space on each storey, such as hallways and landings
    • One heat alarm installed in every kitchen

All alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked, that means when one alarm is activated all alarms will sound.

Where there is a carbon-fuelled appliance (such as boilers, fires (including open fires) and heaters) or a flue, a carbon monoxide detector is also required which does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

A fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket should be provided in the kitchen area. Professional advice should be sought if the vestry considers it appropriate. Such protection should be regularly reviewed, and appropriate records should be kept.

Other considerations

  1. Housing for curates should be as near as possible to the above. Although some relaxation may be given by the Diocesan Buildings Committee, this committee should be consulted prior to purchase/upgrading of properties.
  2. Where clergy housing does not meet these standards, Vestries should not necessarily dispose of them for these reasons alone; but should endeavour to work towards compliance with these standards in consultation with the Diocesan Buildings Committee.
  3. If there are any aspects of clergy housing which are not addressed by these standards, then advice can be obtained from the Diocesan Buildings Committee.
  4. Housing should comply with the Province’s environmental and climate change policies.

April 2022