Church Owned Rental House
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Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Feb 17, 2024 5:46 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Roy [AL]) Feb 17, 2024 6:08 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by RB [TN]) Feb 17, 2024 6:23 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by PG [SC]) Feb 17, 2024 6:48 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Richard [MI]) Feb 17, 2024 7:13 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Richard [MI]) Feb 17, 2024 7:16 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by S i d [MO]) Feb 17, 2024 7:21 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Feb 17, 2024 7:41 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Vee [OH]) Feb 17, 2024 8:02 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Vee [OH]) Feb 17, 2024 8:12 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Feb 17, 2024 8:38 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Feb 17, 2024 8:57 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by DJ [VA]) Feb 17, 2024 10:46 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Deanna [TX]) Feb 17, 2024 11:14 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Still Learning [NH]) Feb 17, 2024 11:30 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Feb 18, 2024 8:45 AM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Feb 18, 2024 9:06 AM
       Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Feb 18, 2024 9:18 AM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Feb 19, 2024 4:12 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Feb 19, 2024 7:14 PM
       Church Owned Rental House (by GKARL [PA]) Feb 20, 2024 8:33 PM

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Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 5:46 PM

I am embarrassed to make this post, but, I am looking for suggestions.

I have been asking questions and have found out the following:

In 2006, our church bought a house (using a commercial loan) in a C neighborhood for $65,000.

They rented the house to a needy family. No one in the church was landlord smart, so, there were lots of mistakes made by the church.

In 2012, the “needy” couple split and the lady tenant and her kids moved to government subsidized housing.

The house was in bad shape, needed lots of repairs, and was only worth $20,000 (due to the housing recession).

The church did not want to sell the house and loose $45,000, so they decided to sell the house for $65,000 to a “handyman” with “owner financing”. The “handyman” was going to repair the house and live in the house. The church continued with the commercial loan.

As it turns out, there have been lots of problems with this “home owner”:

The church now is paying the water bill because “someone” bypassed the water meter and the water department caught them (the handyman homeowner) stealing water.

The insurance was cancelled because there was a kitchen fire in 2019. No one in the church knew the insurance was canceled.

The “homeowner” has 6-8 dogs and is uninsurable.

The water bill is $300/month and no one seems to know why?

The “homeowner” has someone install a new shower faucet 10 years ago. There were bad solder joints on the shower faucet and it leaked - causing lots of rot. A contractor quoted $10,000 to repair the bathroom.

I am told that the loan balance is down to $30,000. Someone said a rate adjustment is coming up soon with the commercial loan.

An 86 year old trustee at the church has been overseeing this house. He is defensive of the decisions he has made.

So, what options does the church have?

Thanks for your feedback.

Church Owned Rental House (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 6:08 PM

I would advise the church elders to cut your losses now, bite the bullet and just sell the house for whatever you can get for it. This is a situation that does not get better with time, it usually gets worse. And I would evict the deadbeat handyman before I put a for sale sign on the house.

Church Owned Rental House (by RB [TN]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 6:23 PM

Find a new Trustee or find a new Church.

I did the latter when the same situation happened.

Church Owned Rental House (by PG [SC]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 6:48 PM

LEAVE THIS ALONE. Let the Chairman of the Trustees/Deacons solve the problem. No one will win unless the 86 year old Trustee ask for help.

What you can do is designate your tithe to a specific cost, such as yard maintenance - Preachers salary and so on. Most Church's require designated funds to go to the donors choosing.

I am a Trustee in our Church and I am in charge of very nice Parsonage that remains empty most of the time. I have convinced the - oh we can make some money group - that being a LL is not easy. Then I tell them a story about the tenant from H... Also if any one inquires about renting I tell them the Church is not in the rental business we only provide housing in an emergency situation.

Most importantly PRAY about the issue.

Church Owned Rental House (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 7:13 PM

See if the city will pull the water meter because of theft. There's likely a leak there because of the bad theft job.

Otherwise, follow above advice.

Tell me the "handyman" isn't related to the trustee in charge.

Church Owned Rental House (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 7:16 PM

Also have the health dept declare the place uninhabitable because of the fire, bad condition or no water and have them order the place vacated.

Church Owned Rental House (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 7:21 PM

Sounds like a money pit. Unless the church is willing to put someone with business savvy and a spine in charge, you probably ought to just check if the mortgage lender will accept a Deed in Lieu of foreclosure. Then they can foreclose on the handyman and evict him.

Btw,what kind of Deed, if any, did the church give the handyman? Was there actually a sale, or was it contract for deed/rent to own? I'm hoping no one actually deeded him the house while a mortgage was still owed on it...

Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 7:41 PM

Do what Sid suggested

Church Owned Rental House (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 8:02 PM

When I was a underage rebel our church did something similar, there were 2 older ladies that lived in the house and did babysitting for a lot of the families in their homes or at the little house next door. I suggest getting the current manager person to submit a written report how to get the water operating with a monthly bill and follow thru with this, it will be a lesson for everyone, the 86 year old may choose to retire from his management post based on the floodof questions, until water is flowing it could be declared uninhabitable which will not be good except getting out the delinquent buyer, does he have enough equitye to repay the water company and then purchase supplies to rebuild the fire damage? Once that hurdle is crossed have a inspection to restore the occupancy permit, then it would be helpful tp the community to restore the purpose of having a -needy family- come rent the house, if you have a scout troop who meets there you are looking at your exterior maintenance helpers and everyone interested will take pride in helping even if it is at a distance, the older person will learn a lot from observing and may pitch in some sweat equity so this project does not run afoul again, the congregation can not be filled with un cooperative people who will observe this become an ugly mess again. Imagine the positive press for your church.

Church Owned Rental House (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 8:12 PM

Even though I was no angel I would take some bakery to the ladies every couple weeks with my paper route tips, my brothers became scouts but I never did, nor did I partake in the fine arts as all my siblings even though the basement had all the instruments, we all got married there and the old ladies showed up everytime, the church now manages the community senior center with a 148 unit bldg.

Church Owned Rental House (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 8:38 PM


I am with PG. Step aside.

(How are you aware of these issues?)

As a leader in our church my advice is to let God work thru the Elder Board. They know what's going on. God holds them responsible as stewards. There are often confidential factors in play. They are adults trying to do good.

When it comes to church work and spiritual matters there are bigger things happening than just finances.


Church Owned Rental House (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 8:57 PM


My brother's church has a house on the property, former parsonage.

At my brother's suggestion they DID ask for my advice. I told them to stay out of the LL business. Too difficult for volunteer help AND too many legal potholes. I suggested they keep it available for visiting missionaries and church interns ONLY. Not for the pubic.

I counselled to give money to the local homeless shelter and food pantry if they want to do good for the poor. Support the trained professionals who already know many of the folks in need.

Years later a member told me it has been a wonderful blessing to have a "Free God AirBnb" for pastors needing a break, missionaries in country for a season, seminary students...


Church Owned Rental House (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 10:46 PM

Oh, my!

Don't be embarrassed - it's a tricky situation.

I've tried to make suggestions to our ineffective Maintenance chairman (church & parsonage), as well as other topics like making a website. My ideas have been rejected, and it's hard to accept. That is, it's hard to see the leaders making such poor decisions (even though they are smaller than yours) and being powerless to effect change.

Those above who say to stay out of it and let those with the decision-making power be responsible for their decisions make very good points. One day - possibly soon- it will all come crashing down so it can't be ignored any more; the whole congregation will know about the poor stewardship, and there may very well be a split in the membership, unfortunately.

When there are one or a few in charge who will not admit that they make mistakes, and insist on being in control, it normally does not end well. Those are not qualities listed in the Bible as desirable for a leader in a christian church.

However, me being me, I would attempt to be able to speak to the Council (our small group of elected leaders) ONCE, or at least write a thoughtfully composed and carefully worded letter ONCE laying out my experience, my concerns, why they are concerns - based on Biblical principles - and what I SUGGEST they consider doing to correct the situation. I would volunteer to help in any way I could (maybe list a couple specific things). Then I would feel like I had done my part to address the improper actions of those in charge. We members of the congregation are responsible to "police" leaders & call them out if they are not acting in a proper, Biblical manner - and I think this qualifies.

Then let it run it's course. That's the really hard part - to see someone continue to screw something up due to their ego, or whatever sin it is they need to learn a lesson about. I say I bite my tongue so much it bleeds (not literally). I have had to leave the room. Pray they will learn better as quickly as possible, and that the whole experience will somehow pull the church together rather than tear it apart.

Church Owned Rental House (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 11:14 PM

There's a faith-based rehab facility in our area. They were looking at creating a fourplex in a former commercial building, because our town has limited housing, and they wanted to ensure that graduates of their program had local housing to rotate into. But running a facility and renovating/being a landlord are two totally different things. I'm sorry their renovation didn't work out, but they're better off selling rather than trying to retrofit housing into a weird, massive, rambling, mazelike structure. (I saw their electrical panel... eek!)

So, for your church-- they need to stay in their lane. It's good to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, ransom the captive, bury the dead, shelter the homeless, comfort the sick, and clothe the clothes-less, but it might be a more efficient use of their resources if they adopted an area program that focuses on a specific activity, and took up a special collection on their behalf. That way, they're supporting others' ministry as well as their own.

As far as this particular scenario goes, if it's owner-finance, at what point does the handyman have sufficient ownership that requires the church to foreclose on him? If that point has been reached, then they need to go through the foreclosure process. Hopefully they have access to a good attorney who has experience and can advise on how to handle this, because the penalties for doing it wrong are very, very punitive.

Church Owned Rental House (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Feb 17, 2024 11:30 PM

My church sold the parsonage house rather than becoming a landlord when our most recent ministers all preferred to purchase homes. On the flip side, I was a tenant in a parsonage house the church in town owned. Our home burned down the week after their minister left and they had voted to use interim clergy for a year. We did not attend that church but they rented to us. My kids were able to attend their same school while we fought with insurance and rebuilt. Lucky for us or divine intervention, the house was finished being built the same week they found their new pastor a year and a half after we first moved in. Our last night there we clipped our dogs mail too short and he took off running through the house bleeding. I was up for hours scrubbing walls and floors until it was all clean.

Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2024 8:45 AM

Thanks for the comments.

I got involved last week when the trustee asked a group of us for help to find the water leak.

The handyman/owner did repair the kitchen after the fire and did not take any insurance money. No structural damage, just cleaning and painting. Since insurance did not pay for the fire repair, they think there is still fire damage and will not renew the insurance.

We found the small bathroom leak that caused the bathroom floor to rot. A leaking tub drain was the main reason the bathroom floor was rotted.

Instead of telling the trustee to pay $10,000 to repair the bathroom, I started working on it. I will finish it in a couple days. Another church member who volunteers with habitat has helped for a couple days.

The large water bills are due to carelessness on the handyman/owner’s part.

The trustee is not willing to foreclose due to no insurance. He considers this to be his mission.

In reality, we are dealing with a low income tenant mentality. But, the trustee thinks we are dealing with someone who only needs a little help to improve his life and become self sufficient.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2024 9:06 AM

Why would you spend your time fixing things when someone else thinks he owns the place?

Church Owned Rental House (by MMIT [VA]) Posted on: Feb 18, 2024 9:18 AM

Ken, the trustee had a contractor lined up to do the repair for $10,000.

The church does not have that kind of money sitting around.

I was not in favor of the church buying this house, but, have stayed uninvolved until now. My opinions are not popular.

Church Owned Rental House (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2024 4:12 PM

Back in 2009 I picked up a rectory from one church. I picked up a parsonage in 2011. I like dealing with the church to buy a place.

The 2011 transaction I got owner financing! They like having a forecastable income stream.

In both cases, these were houses near the churches that were not being used and the county was getting ready to force the church to pay taxes on it since it wasn't supporting the mission of the church. So I would encourage you to come off as the local problem solver in real estate. You need to solve the trustee problem - NOT yours to make the sale go.

So what is the problem that the trustee has? Is it embarrassment or cash flow?

Church Owned Rental House (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 19, 2024 7:14 PM

Ray- real good point is the trustees problem embarrasment?

Church Owned Rental House (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Feb 20, 2024 8:33 PM

Late to the party on this string. I volunteer for non profits and have done so for a church in the past. In the latter case, I find it far easier to simply stay in the pew rather than struggle trying to convince people of this or that. I'm the treasurer for a non-profit and my tactic is a bit more active but not overly so. I give the advice and let them decide what they want to do. For me, it's helpful to depersonalize rejected advice by maintaining a bit of distance and not getting too much into the "mix" (i.e. the politics). Folks tend to see you as being more objective rather than taking sides or critiquing someone. Having said that, I think you did a very good thing saving them $ 10,000 but it sounds like it's a thankless effort and that's the sort of thing that bothers me. None one should have to fight or be unpopular to suggest what makes sense, but there's always someone who has an issue with that. The minute I get a hint of that, I either back up or just get out as I volunteer to help and not to strive with folks.

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