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Here you can find links to useful website, organisations and documents on property topics, planning activism and issues around ethical property.

Property advice

Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE)
Provides information, design guidance, training and consultancy services in inclusive design/disabled access in the built environment including the implications of the Equality Act 2010.

Charity Commission
Information on charity law and guidance relating to property dealings. Useful publications include CC28 - Disposing of charity land and CC33 - Acquiring land.

Charity Property Help
Charity Property Help is a pro bono service designed to assist charities and voluntary organisations, by providing free support and guidance on all property matters in the UK. Many charities and voluntary organisations, from village halls to multinationals need advice on property matters. Charity Property Help is designed to ensure that these organisations are able to manage their property assets more effectively through advice and guidance from specialist RICS Regulated firms.

Chartered Surveyor Voluntary Service
This charity is managed by RICS and offers property advice to those who would otherwise be unable to access professional help. Volunteer chartered surveyors are able to advise on a range of issues generally through a home visit and a follow up report to the advice centre. This service is accessible through your local Citizens Advice Bureau. 

Developed by The Church of England in partnership with Ecclesiastical Insurance, this website aims to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone involved in the running and maintenance of a church building and in particular for churchwardens.

Community Action Network (CAN)
Develops, supports and promotes social entrepreneurs to maximise their social impact.

Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS)
CLAS is an impartial, collaborative service aiming to increase community access to land across the UK.

CLAS helps communities and land managers gain satisfactory agreements on access to land by providing guidance on technical lease agreements and related issues.

Community Matters
Community Matters is the nationwide federation for community associations and similar organisations, with 1100 member organisations across the UK. Community Matters has produced a number of useful publications and also runs training for those organisations running and managing multi-purpose buildings used by the community. Follow this link for forthcoming training dates.

LawWorks and Community Matters run a free monthly Legal Advice Clinic. To book an appointment with a volunteer lawyer for free legal advice on property, employment, contract or corporate law, contact 020 7837 7887.

Construction industry homelessness charity. Provides construction materials, manpower and expertise from the development industry, to assist homelessness charities in improving their properties.

The Glass-House Community Led Design
Since 2001 The Glass-House has been helping people make better buildings, spaces, homes and neighbourhoods. They are a national charity that gives both communities and regeneration professionals the skills and confidence to lead and contribute to design and neighbourhood planning that involves and benefits local people. The result is better collaboration between communities and professionals and more intelligent, dynamic and sustainable places.

LawWorks for Community Groups provides free legal advice to small charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises in England and Wales via a network of volunteer lawyers.  LawWorks particularly welcome applications for assistance from community groups working in deprived communities.

Law Works and Community Matters run a free monthly Legal Advice Clinic.  To book an appointment with a volunteer lawyer for free legal advice on property, employment, contract or corporate law, contact 020 7837 7887.

Locality support and promote local organisations that use enterprising methods to drive regeneration in their communities. Their publication To Have and To Hold is an excellent source of information, resources and contacts that you can use to develop a land or building project which is an asset for your organisation and local community. Other recent reports of interest on the Locality website are: Collaboration in London –collaboration between charities to form consortia to enable them to secure contracts which they could not otherwise win or deliver individually; Civic Buildings – the show must go on - a guide to the community ownership of theatres, art venues and civic buildings, providing case studies and information on funding sources; Making buildings work for your community - an introduction to the design process and practical advice on how to ensure that your building can be the best possible facility for your community, aimed at groups refurbishing community buildings as part of the asset transfer process; Pillars of the community – the community asset transfer of heritage buildings, with advice for community and voluntary organisations, from assessing potential uses to ensuring the long term viability of the transfer; Community led spaces – advice for community organisations on the community asset transfer of public spaces such as parks, gardens and woodlands. Locality also run training courses. Click here for further details and forthcoming training dates.

My Community Space is a free website that allows community and voluntary organisations to advertise space for hire, covering both short hire periods and long term leases. The site also provides useful information on finding, renting and managing space.

The National Federation of Artists’ Studio Providers (NFASP) is the professional membership body representing the interests of all those engaged in providing and developing affordable studio space for artists in the UK. NFASP supports and promotes the role and activities of studio providers and campaigns to secure, sustain, improve and increase affordable studio provision in the UK.

Planning Aid
Planning Aid provides free, independent and professional help, advice and support on planning issues to individuals and communities who cannot afford to hire a planning consultant. . Planning Aid is delivered regionally and in most UK regions is run by the Royal Town Planning Institute. Click here to find details of Planning Aid in your region. 

Property Advice for London
Provides free property and construction advice to charities in London via a network of property professionals including surveyors and architects. For more information contact the Construction Industry Council on or 020 7399 7404.

RICS Helplines
RICS telephone helplines give 30 minutes free advice on issues in boundary disputes, party walls, compulsory purchase, business rates and real estate needs. Call 0208 7686 855 to be put in touch with an RICS member near you. Lines are open every weekday between 0830 and 1730.

Provide information, training and education about the care of residential buildings. Upkeep runs the Charities Facilities Management Group - a network for people in the voluntary sector who look after buildings.

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Planning activism

Campaign for Planning Sanity
A campaign offering resources for local communities including online information, telephone helpline, training workshops, representation at public inquiries and council planning meetings and speakers for public meetings.

Citizens Advice Bureau
(Legal) problems involving planning.

Communities and Local Government
Government department responsible for planning.

Environmental Law Foundation
Links communities and individuals to legal and technical expertise to prevent damage to the environment.  Through its network of members, ELF provides people with information and advice on how the law can help resolve environmental problems such as pollution, development and health.

Friends of the Earth
Includes briefings on recent planning issues and downloadable resources on how to campaign on planning issues.

Planning Aid
Provides free, independent and professional help, advice and support on planning issues to people and communities who cannot afford to hire a planning consultant.

Planning Help
CPRE’s (Campaign to Protect Rural England) web-based guide to using the planning system.

Planning Portal
The Government’s on-line service for planning.  Includes the National Planning Application Register which includes information on every planning application in England and Wales and tracks applications through to the decision stage.

Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)
Membership organisation campaigning for reform of the planning system.


Ethical property

Code for Leasing Business Premises
The Code aims to promote fairness in commercial leases and is endorsed by, among others, the British Property Federation, CBI, RICS, British Council for Offices and the Law Society.  The Code was developed to head off Government suggestions that it may consider regulating the industry unless performance improved.

Code of Practice for service charges in commercial property
Code developed by, amongst others, RICS, British Property Federation and the British Council for Offices, setting out recommendations on best practice in managing service charges.

EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
The aim of the EPBD is to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.  To implement the directive, the UK Government has introduced Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates for commercial buildings.

Landlord's energy statement and tenant's energy review (LES-TER)

Carbon Trust funded initiative to develop methodologies for landlords and tenants to quantify a building's carbon footprint.  Partners include the British Property Federation, British Council for Offices and the Chartered Institute of Building Surveyors.

Commercial Landlords Accreditation Scheme

British Property Federation-run accreditation awarded to landlords that comply with the Code for leasing business premises.

UK Green Building Council
The UK-GBC was launched in February 2007 to ‘bring cohesion to the UK green buildings movement’.  UK-GBC states ‘a project on zero carbon in new non-domestic buildings’ as a priority for their Government lobbying work.  The organisation is modelled on the US Green Building Council which has developed the LEED Rating System which covers commercial, as well as residential buildings.

Go Green Europe
Go Green Europe is an international project to help small businesses and other organisations to save time, money and energy through research and promotion of green business practices.

For information and links on how to run a greener, more ethical office go to our Environment page.

Property best practice

BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method)

The Carbon Trust

Centre for Accessible Environments – UK’s leading authority on inclusive design

Code for Leasing Business Premises

Commercial Landlords Accreditation Scheme

Energy Performance of Buildings

RICS Service Charge Code

UK Green Building Council