Another common query our FA Helpline receives is on shared occupancy of sports premises and facilities.
It is very common for clubs to share use of space, in particular pitches where one club does not have that many teams and are not using the pitches to their full advantage. It can be particularly useful where you have all weather pitches which can stand a significant amount of use and are expensive so it can be good to share the cost.
Who owns the property?
The starting point is to look at what rights your club has to occupy the property. If you own it outright then sharing should be no problem. However, where you have a lease of the property, it may well be that you are stopped from sharing or sub-letting any part of the property without your landlord’s consent. You will need to apply to the landlord for this and there will usually be associated costs to factor in.
Structure your shared occupancy
Once you know your rights over the property and any restrictions on sharing, you will now need to look at the options for how to structure it. The two main options you have here are either a lease or a licence.
You will have to consider whether you want to tie up the property for a long time with the security of a regular rent with a lease or if you would need the flexibility of a licence whereby you can remove occupiers with short notice should circumstances change.
It’s always wise to consider future scenarios, for example, if your club grows and needs to make more extensive use of the property, or what if the relationship with the other club breaks down?
If you are only seeking to share on a short term basis then a licence to occupy would be most appropriate particularly if the other club is not going to exclusively use any particular space of their own. If the hire is only for a few matches or a tournament then some form of pitch hire agreement (which is a basic form of licence but for a very limited time and range of circumstances) may be more appropriate.
If you have any queries on what this means for your club, please call our dedicated England Athletics Helpline on 0845 050 8458 or email [email protected]