How To Find The Best Space To Rent Or Lease For Your New Church Plant
When a church pastor is looking for a new place to rent, there are many things they need to consider. The building needs to be big enough for their congregation but not too big that it’s wasteful.
It also needs to be in good repair and have the necessary amenities. The leased space needs to accommodate the church members on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.
Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is an independent insurance agency specializing in affordable small church insurance coverage. We are here to help your church as you plant roots in your new church building space.
Overview Of Leasing Buildings For Churches
Churches and other religious organizations seeking to lease a building for religious purposes should take care when negotiating a lease agreement. A lease should define the parameters for the use of the building and stipulate what hours are for Church use and any additional events that the Church wants to hold in the building. A
Churches must consider their space needs and budgets when looking for a space. Churches may start in a one-day-a-week space or a leased facility, and they should understand how the space will be used.
Churches should also ensure they understand the minimum requirements for the space, such as square footage and classrooms, as well as their ideal space requirements. Your lease may require you to share the cost of building updates such as paint, carpet, and bathroom remodels in common areas.
Most lease agreements will require houses of worship to obtain the required church property insurance and name the landlord as an additional insured.
What To Consider When Finding The Best Building For Churches To Rent
1. Building: Location and access
Several factors must be considered when searching for a church building to rent in a given location.
- Determine the church’s mission, vision, and values, as well as it’s capacity and target area. This information will help to define the type of facility needed, such as how many people it should accommodate, its layout and features, and any potential safety requirements.
- Understand the market capacity and the cost of renting, leasing, or purchasing a facility in the target area.
- Compare locations and consider spatial information.
2. Building: Size and capacity
A commercial real estate lease agreement typically requires a 1 to 5-year lease. Given the time a church will be locked into a contract, it is vital to select a location that is not only suitable today but 5 to 10 years from now.
New startup churches with less than 50 members may only need commercial space to fit a few tables and chairs. A 1,000 to 2,000-square-foot space may be more than adequate for a small group to meet weekly to hear a sermon and sing praises.
For a religious organization looking to seat 150-175 church members and has three to four classrooms and a foyer, a minimum of 6,000 to 12,000 square feet is required.
An ideal space for a church with 250 members would be 8,000 – 15,000 square feet, including space for your main sanctuary and several classrooms and offices.
3. Building: Amenities and services
As the Senior Pastor, it is critical to ensure church members have access to the needed amenities to minister to others effectively. Amenities and services to consider when looking for a building to rent include access to the following:
- Adequate parking
- Fire and life safety equipment
- Accessibility to restrooms
- Audio-visual capabilities, including sound equipment, projectors, and screens
- Flexible and structured seating options for the main chapel
- Pews vs. individual chairs
- Ability to host receptions
- Access to a baptismal
- Ability to accommodate smaller meetings
- Access to onsite storage
4. Building: Security and safety
Security and safety are paramount considerations when choosing a building for churches to rent. It is essential to thoroughly understand the local area and the types of safety and security measures that may be required for the space you are renting.
5. Building: Lease Agreement
When reviewing a church’s lease agreement for a building, it is critical to review all of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement. Most lease agreements require tenants to obtain liability insurance for churches, workers’ compensation insurance covering church employees, and business auto insurance for church owned vehicles.
Your church insurance agent must review the insurance requirements to ensure they satisfy your contractual requirements. They will then obtain church insurance quotes so your church is protected from liability concerns, and the landlord is also protected.
6. Building: Rent and lease cost
When looking for the best building to rent for a church, it’s important to compare rent and lease costs. There are a few main factors to consider when determining the cost, such as maintenance costs, square footage, utilities, and any staff costs associated with their activities.
Most lease rates are quoted as a price per square foot. This will range based on the location and building type you seek to rent. If the building is furnished, the landlord typically charges a higher price and may require additional church property insurance coverage.
7. Building: Church Insurance
When renting a building for a church, the landlord’s insurance will not cover your church in case of a liability claim, even if the landlord is a church. Your two organizations are separate and must have their church insurance in place.
Coverage churches must have in place include:
- Commercial General Liability Policy
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Business Auto Insurance
- Directors and Officers Liability Insurance
- Pastoral Professional Liability Insurance
- Abuse and Molestation Insurance
- Employment Practice Liability Insurance
- Religious Expression Insurance
- Health Insurance for Pastors and Employees
8. Building: Sublease permitted
Depending on the congregation’s needs, landlords may be open to negotiating a lease that allows the Church to sublease out the property to other businesses during the unused hours of the church. As churches often only use the space in the evenings throughout the week and on Sunday mornings, this provides opportunities to create a shared space.
9. Building: Building maintenance
When looking for a building to rent for a church, there are a few maintenance considerations to remember. Review your lease agreement to verify who is responsible for general maintenance and upkeep of the building, lawn care, and janitorial services and who must pay for equipment such as HVAC systems that break.
Pros and Cons of Renting From An Established Local Church
Renting from an established local church has pros and cons that should be carefully considered.
The pros of renting from an established church include the following:
- Churches often have beautiful and well-maintained facilities that may be unavailable in other venues.
- Many churches provide seating and other furniture for rent, which can be a cost-saving benefit for renters.
- Sound equipment is already in place and available for use by your ministry.
- Great for church member weddings allowing church members to save money by not having to book an outside venue.
The cons of renting from an established church include the following:
- The church building may be unavailable during prime renting times.
- Church space may be limited now, allowing tenants to store their sound systems.
- The church may have specific rules or requirements regarding decorations, music, and other aspects of the event.
Pros and Cons of Renting Space In A Strip Mall or Warehouse
Renting space in a strip mall or warehouse for a church may be desirable for a new congregation as it is typically much less expensive than purchasing a building. On the other hand, there are both pros and cons to renting space in a strip mall or warehouse.
The pros of renting from a strip mall or warehouse include the following:
- The space is usually significantly less expensive than purchasing a building.
- Rental agreements are typically flexible
- The space is often more suitable for the contemporary church model.
The cons of renting from a warehouse or strip mall include the following:
- The space may not be large enough to accommodate a growing congregation
- The décor may not be conducive to worship
- There may not be adequate parking as church members are competing with other surrounding businesses.
There is a lot to consider when finding the right place to rent. As your church fellowship reviews the demographics of the local area, seek advice from churches in the area who have already walked in your footsteps.
Obtain Renters Insurance For Churches
Renting out church property comes with a lot of responsibility. While it can be a great way to reach the community, church leaders must know the potential risks. Obtaining renters insurance for churches is essential to protect the church from being held liable for any accidents or damages on the property.
Having renters insurance for churches is especially important for those who rent to for-profit companies. Without proper coverage, the church could be held liable for any injuries or losses that result from its tenant’s activities.
To help protect the church from liability, getting a certificate of insurance from the tenant is vital, naming the church as an additional insured. Church leaders should also consider writing or getting a facilities use policy to make it easier to say no to requests that don’t meet the church’s standards.
Contact one of our licensed church insurance agents to obtain church insurance quotes for nonprofit organizations.
Work With An Experienced Church Insurance Agent
An experienced church insurance agent can help find the best church insurance coverage at an affordable price. Our insurance agents will help design a church insurance policy that provides comprehensive protection and meets your church budget.
As a tax-exempt organization, your board members must be provided with a good option for obtaining the required liability insurance for churches.
Contact us today and request a free church insurance quote.