Retired Baptist Ministers’ Housing Society
The Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Society Ltd. (RBMHS) was formed in 1975 as a response to the difficulty being experienced by many ministers in obtaining suitable and appropriate housing when the time came to retire from manse life.
The RBMHS, is an entirely separate body from the former Baptist (Men’s Movement) Housing Association, and from the BUGB. RBMHS is a charitable body, presently registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act, with a Committee of Management elected annually and making reports to the BUGB Council.
RBMHS does not purchase surplus church land on which to build flats etc and the society’s beneficiaries are restricted to retired Baptist ministers and BMS missionaries together with their dependent spouses, who meet the eligibility criteria.
The current chairman of the Society is Mr Bill Johnston.
As a charity, RBMHS’s objective is to provide retirement accommodation for ministers who are in necessitous circumstances. This means that applicants must be established as not having access to other accommodation, nor the means to provide housing for themselves. The eligibility rules also stipulate that applicants must normally have served a minimum of 15 years as a BUGB accredited minister, or if not accredited, a minimum of 18 years in the service of BUGB Churches.
Provided the requirements for eligibility are met, the applicant will normally be placed on a waiting list and contacted again towards the end of the year prior to retirement. It is not expected that the Society will help until the normal retirement age is reached unless there are extenuating circumstances. Very regretfully, the Society is never in a position to guarantee that help can be given. The Society tries to house applicants in the area they prefer—perhaps for family or other reasons—although we generally advise against retiring in the locality of the final pastorate.
The RBMHS has around 250 properties of various types around the country. A number of these have been bequeathed to the Society, or have been purchased through legacies and donations.
Without such generosity, the Society would not be able to function, and we are deeply grateful to all who help in this way. The commendation of RBMHS to churches and potential benefactors is an important aspect of our life and we are very grateful to those who enable the work of the Society to go forward. Very often, churches are glad to make a contribution as a tangible expression of thanks for the housing of a former minister.
The Gift Aid scheme may be used for donations, and is an efficient way of increasing gifts through the refund of income tax paid.
RBMHS tries to meet housing needs from within our existing property stock. If this is not possible, and always providing that sufficient funds are available, we seek to purchase a suitable property, usually of the applicant’s own choice.
The Society’s resources are, of course, limited and there has to be a ceiling on the cost of property purchased. A general maximum applies throughout the country (Inc Scotland & Wales) and is currently based on the Nationwide’s average housing price index which is published monthly. If they so wish, applicants may extend the maximum by up to 25% from their own funds, such additions by way of an interest-free-loans (IFL) to RBMHS, being repayable on the termination of the tenancy or by taking an Equity Share [ES] option. Further information on these options is available from the manager.
Applicants with substantial capital (though not enough to provide their own housing) may be required to make a loan contribution towards a purchase.
The Society’s standard rent is determined by an assessment against household taxable income for all new tenants.
Tenancy arrangements for RBMHS property operate in a similar way to the occupancy of a manse. The Society looks after insurance repairs and exterior maintenance, but tenants are responsible for maintaining the interior decorations and also paying all normal outgoings such as Council Tax, water and sewage charges, gas, electric and telephone bills as well as contents insurance.
RBMHS aims to provide permanent homes with assured tenancies. For married couples, all tenancies are on a joint basis and give a continuing right of occupation to a surviving spouse, with the reservation that the fundamental criterion of housing need would have to be re-established in the event of a re-marriage. Beyond this, housing cannot be made available to dependent relatives.
Sometimes circumstances alter and an existing home becomes unsuitable, in which case sympathetic consideration is given to rehousing, if required.
Given an increasing number of ministers with a stake in home ownership, it could be thought that the role of RBMHS is diminishing. At the present time, there are no indications that this is true nor is there any reduction in annual demand. RBMHS has an annual waiting list of a dozen or so to which needs to be added those who have to retire at short notice, for example due to ill health, which cannot be anticipated.
As it has done since its formation in 1975, RBMHS continues to operate by faith, looking to God to enable it to meet the housing need of His loyal servants. We very much value your prayers in this.
If you feel that RBMHS is in a position to help you, please do feel free to contact us.
Similarly, if you feel able to help the Society, or require any further information, we are always pleased to hear from you.
Secretary / Manager
26 Athelstan Road
Dorset BH6 5LY
Tel: 01202 548890
Contact Stewart by email