Section A Introduction

Before using the Standard Licence please read this guidance note and the Licence Flow Chart to help you to decide whether the Standard Licence is appropriate for the intended use.

  • Section B discusses what a licence is
  • Section C sets out key facts that the Standard Licence presumes apply to the proposed arrangement
  • Section D sets out circumstances where the Standard Licence is not appropriate; and
  • The Licence Flow Chart summarises what Managing Trustees should consider from a Methodist perspective in a flow chart.

Section B What is a licence?

Your legal adviser is the best person to explain the technicalities of a licence. However, for the purposes of this guidance note, a licence is regarded as a personal right or consent that merely grants permission to use land with no intention to create an interest in land. You could see it as allowing what would otherwise be a trespass. In contrast, a lease can be seen as giving an occupier exclusive possession of a defined area of land, is for a fixed period of time, at a rent and there is an intention to create an interest in land that can be assigned or sold i.e. it is not personal.

A third party who uses church premises to the exclusion of others, who holds the only set of keys or who uses church premises on a more than part-time basis i.e. Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm could be seen as enjoying exclusive possession. See Licence FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for details as to the difficulties that this can create for Managing Trustees and the charity in general.

Section C Is the Standard Licence suitable?

Please use the Licence Flow Chart to help you decide whether the Standard Licence would be suitable for the arrangements that you have with third parties at your church. If you have any concerns about whether the Standard Licence is suitable to your particular circumstances, please seek advice from a local solicitor

The Standard Licence is drafted on the basis that:

  • The third party group (the Licensee) uses space (the Premises) on a regular but part-time basis, typically once or several times a week.
  • The Premises form part of a larger building or church complex (Building) and share services and common areas within the Building.
  • The Licence Fee is inclusive of an agreed contribution towards anticipated utility costs.
  • The Licensee will not use the Premises to the exclusion of others i.e. the Managing Trustees and other authorised users will share use of the Premises.

If any of these points do not apply in the circumstances of a particular Licensee’s use of your Building then please contact TMCP so that we can provide further guidance. You may also need to take independent legal advice as to the suitability of a licence.

Section D When is the Standard Licence not suitable?

If any of the following situations apply, the Standard Licence will not be suitable. If this is the case, please contact TMCP so that we can provide further guidance and/or a revised form of licence to use:

  • The Licensee wants the Managing Trustees to commit to letting them use the Premises for more than 12months or for a fixed period not terminable on notice.
  • The Licensee wants to use the whole or part of the Premises exclusively, that is, to the exclusion of others. Please consider whether a lease would be more suitable.
  • The Licensee is to use the Premises on an isolated occasion such as a birthday party or a limited number of irregular occasions. The Template Booking Form may be more appropriate.
  • The Licensee wants to worship on the Premises. Where Christian worship is proposed, please contact TMCP so that we can provide appropriate guidance as to the requirements under Model Trust 14(2A) and suggest amendments that can be made to the Standard Licence to make it appropriate for use under Model Trust 14(2A). Please note that non-Christian worship is not permitted under the Model Trusts. Please see Licence FAQs for issues to be considered).
  • A licence to use car parking spaces is proposed. TMCP has developed a car parking licence which can be used by Managing Trustees in limited circumstances that has been drafted to reflect Methodist best-practice. Please contact TMCP so that we can provide you with this template car parking licence and additional guidance.



Please note that this document is to provide guidance and assistance to Managing Trustees and their professional advisers. This guidance note is general in nature, may not reflect all recent legal developments and may not apply to the specific facts and circumstances of any particular matter.


Also note that nothing within the documents and guidance notes provided by TMCP nor any receipt or use of such information, should be construed or relied on as advertising or soliciting to provide any legal services. Nor does it create any solicitor-client relationship or provide any legal representation, advice or opinion whatsoever on behalf of TMCP or its employees.


Accordingly, neither TMCP nor its employees accept any responsibility for use of this document or action taken as a result of information provided in it.


Please remember that Managing Trustees need to take advice that is specific to the situation at hand. This document is not legal advice and is no substitute for such advice from Managing Trustees' own legal advisers. 



If you have any concerns about whether the Standard Licence is suitable to your particular circumstances or as to the legal implications of the Standard Licence, please seek advice from a local solicitor.