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Outside Groups Using Church Facilities | Hold Harmless Language

Outside Groups Using Church FacilitieS | Hold Harmless Language

It is preferable to have a written agreement with these groups (Scouts, “AA,” etc.), however simple, even if they do not make any payment for use of the facilities.  At a minimum, the “license agreement” should include

a) the “Term” (how long the agreement is for—September to June 2020) and a  provision that the congregation may terminate the license (use of the property) at any time, for any reason, upon a specified notice period (15 days, etc.).  This protects the congregation in case they are not happy with how their property is being used; 

b) the parts of the property that will be used and the days and times of use;

c) if the outside group has any financial responsibility to the congregation—contribution, payment for utilities or cleaning;

d) an indemnification or hold harmless of the congregation, which, depending on the group, may have no practical value unless they have insurance.

e) It would be great if congregations can require the outside group to have insurance and name congregation as additional insured, but that is unlikely;

f) a provision that the outside group is responsible for the actions and conduct of anyone who is on the property as a result of the group being there. 

It is appropriate for the congregation to have the outside group provide a waiver or hold harmless, including language like “despite diligent hygiene measures and compliance with the law, we cannot guarantee that infectious transmission will not occur”.

It is critical that the congregation notify their own insurance company of all “outside groups” that use the congregation’s property. 

For more significant use of the property by outside group actually paying “rent,” the agreement must include a provision that if the congregation incurs a tax of any nature as a result of the use by the outside group, payment of that tax is the sole responsibility of the group and the group will make that payment within 10 days of receipt of notice from the congregation. 

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