Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, General Decree on the Leasing or Renting of Ecclesiastical Goods, January 1998.

In accordance with the prescriptions of c. 1297, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference hereby decrees that the following norms shall be observed when leasing or renting ecclesiastical goods:

Lands or building for which no immediate or long-term use for Church purposes is foreseen should not be retained indefinitely.

7. The leasing of ecclesiastical property, when the lease extends over a period of two years, constitutes an act of extraordinary administration, and is subject to the prescriptions of c. 1277 or, in the case of institutes of consecrated life, of c. 638, §1.

8. Any leasing or renting of ecclesiastical property for a period extending beyond thirty continuous days shall be recorded in writing, observing all applicable civil and particular laws.

9. Normally, Church property shall not be leased at less than the current comparable rates. If, however, in particular circumstances, the property is to be leased for less than these rates, the written permission of the Ordinary is to be obtained beforehand. In the case of institutes of consecrated life of pontifical right, the permission of the major superior shall be obtained.

10. Any leasing of ecclesiastical property without charge to charitable or other organisations, if the duration of the lease extends beyond three months, requires the written consent of the Ordinary or, in the case of institutes of consecrated life of pontifical right, the written consent of the major superior.

11. If the total amount of rent to be paid exceeds the maximum amount determined for the region for acts of alienation of ecclesiastical goods, and if the lease has a duration of more than nine years, the permission of the Apostolic See is also to be obtained beforehand.

Code of Canon Law Annotated (Montréal: Wilson &Lafleur Limitée, 2004): 1788.