Who really OWNS each Kingdom Hall?

by gaiagirl 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • WTWizard

    My best guess is that the Washtowel Slaveholdery still owns the Kingdumb Hells. The congregations have to borrow from the Washtowel Slaveholdery for money, and pay it back, when they build a Kingdumb Hell. Then, if it gets sold, the Washtowel Slaveholdery gets the money. It is possible that some of the money could go toward the new Kingdumb Hell. However, that arrangement stops a congregation that goes apostate from taking possession of the building.

  • LouBelle

    Reniaa - The congregation members would get together to make contributions towards a property they want to buy to use as a kingdom hall. The would then take out a normal loan in order to pruchase the property using the raised capital as a deposit and also to buy what they would need.

    It is then the brother / sisters that would demolish and rebuild a place or will re - decorate to be in line with witness policy. Every week there is an announcement about accounts that the KH then have to pay with an account reconciliation being done. If the account is higher than the contributions received the brother will put out a plea to the members to make up the defecit citing that as JW we are representatives of Jah and would want to keep his name from ruin or something like that.

    So IMO it's actually the members that SHOULD own the hall as it was and is THEIR capital that was used and is continually used to pay of the loan.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Reniaa asked,

    I'm assuming the WTS and catholic church have to buy the property in the first place anyway because new congs wouldn's have the money to outlay that amount, so wouldn't it be morally wrong if a cong all left and thought "lets keep this land and split the monies between us"?
    Do you think the WT just gives the congregation a Kingdom Hall? They don't: the congregation typically takes a loan from the WTS and repays the loan over time, with interest. Now, if this were you or I buying a house, we might borrow money from a bank and pay it back ove time with interest. but at the end of that time, the deed for the property would go to us, not the bank. When the congregation repays the loan, the WT says "thanks," and keeps the deed. I'm not saying this to offend you or embarass you Reniaa, but you have a very naïve and trusting view of the WT Society.

  • AGuest

    Thank you... and may you all have peace!

    A little clarification, if I may: the KH and land are "owned" by the lead congregation, which is set up as a non-profit; however, there are no "trustees" - there are three corporate "officers": a President, Secretary and Treasurer, which positions are [usually] filled by the PO, TMS Overseer, and Service Overseer.

    Because the congregations can almost never purchase the land/building outright (land is often donated, however), they usually take out a mortgage, which mortgage is held by the WTS. The WTS either (1) buys the land and then RESELLS it to the congregation via a low-interest loan (which is unbiblical), or (2) loans the congregation the money to put up a building (taken out against the land and also at low-interest). In the first instance, although the Deed of TRUST is made out to the congregation, the actual DEED is held by the WTS. In the second instance, the WTS holds a security interest in the land by means of the loan for the building (thus, if the congregation defaults, they lose the land to the WTS).

    The TERMS of the deed is what's the rub: any Grantor (owner of the deed) has a right to put certain restrictions on the land. For example, they can say that the land MUST ALWAYS be used... as a park, to house a school, church, hospital, etc. This is an encumbrance that "runs with the land." This raises problems when a congregation wants to dissolve and (1) the congregation still owes a mortgage on the land/building, or (2) the deed to the land contains such an encumbrance clause.

    Some of the older halls have their mortgages paid off, and so hold the deed outright; however, again, the deed itself may be restrictive. For the newer halls, there may also be clause that says congregation can NOT dissolve (at least, not within a specified time) and if it does, it defaults under the loan (resulting in the land going back to the Grantor - the WTS.

    I learned this when I asked to care for the files for a particular congregation some years ago. I can't remember the details of why I was asked, or how I came to review the Trust Deed and related documents - I kinda purged a lot of stuff from my brain after leaving. But I didn't fully understand what I had read until I took Property Law a couple years ago. Then it all made sense, relatively speaking.

    The congregations that have this problem (dissolving but keeping their property) most probably didn't have an independent lawyer at the time of negotiation (who here believes they didn't rely solely on the WTS lawyers?!) and so had to fight in court. And probably lost, depending on the sympathy of the judge.

    Anyway, I hope that helps.

    Peace to you!

    A slave of Christ,


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