New York Consolidated Laws, Religious Corporations Law - RCO § 12. Sale, mortgage and lease of real property of religious corporations

1. A religious corporation shall not sell, mortgage or lease for a term exceeding five years any of its real property without applying for and obtaining leave of the court or the attorney general therefor pursuant to section five hundred eleven of the not-for-profit corporation law as that section is modified by paragraph (d-1) of subdivision one of section two-b of this chapter or section five hundred eleven-a of the not-for-profit corporation law , except that a religious corporation may execute a purchase money mortgage or a purchase money security agreement creating a security interest in personal property purchased by it without obtaining leave of the court therefor.

2. The trustees of an incorporated Protestant Episcopal church shall not vote upon any resolution or proposition for the sale, mortgage or lease of its real property, unless the rector of such church, if it then has a rector, shall be present, and shall not make application to the court for leave to sell or mortgage any of its real property without the consent of the bishop and standing committee of the diocese to which such church belongs, or execute and deliver a lease of any of its real property for a term exceeding five years without similar consent of the bishop and standing committee of the diocese to which such church belongs;  but in case the see be vacant, or the bishop be absent or unable to act, the consent of the standing committee with their certificate of the vacancy of the see or of the absence or disability of the bishop shall suffice.

3. The trustees of an incorporated Roman Catholic church shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease or sell any of its real property without the consent of the archbishop or bishop of the diocese to which such church belongs or in case of their absence or inability to act, without the consent of the vicar-general or administrator of such diocese.

4. The trustees of an incorporated Ruthenian Catholic church of the Greek rite shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease or sell any of its real property without the consent in writing of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic bishop of the diocese to which such church belongs, or, in case of his absence or inability to act, without the consent of the vicar-general of such bishop or of the administrator of such diocese.

5. The trustees of an incorporated African Methodist Episcopal Zion church shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease or sell any of its real property without the consent of the bishop of the diocese to which said church belongs, or in case of his absence or inability to act, without the consent of the annual conference having jurisdiction over such church.

5-a. The trustees of an incorporated Presbyterian church in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease or sell any of its real property without the consent in writing of the particular Presbytery with which said church is connected.

5-b. The trustees of an incorporated United Methodist church shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease, or sell any of its real property without the written consents of the district superintendent and the preacher in charge and the authorization of the charge conference by a majority of those present and voting at a meeting of the charge conference, provided that not less than ten days' notice of such meeting and proposed action shall have been given from the pulpit of the charge, or, if no regular services are held, by mail to the members of the charge conference.

5-c. The trustees of an incorporated Reformed Church in connection with the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America, shall not make application to the court for leave to mortgage, lease or sell any of its real property without the consent in writing of the trustees of the Classis with which said church is connected.

6. The petition of the trustees of an incorporated Protestant Episcopal church or Roman Catholic church shall, in addition to the matters required by article five of the not-for-profit corporation law to be set forth therein, set forth that this section has also been complied with.  The petition of the trustees of an incorporated African Methodist Episcopal Zion church shall in addition to the matters required by article five of the not-for-profit corporation law to be set forth therein, set forth that this section has also been complied with.  The petition of the trustees of an incorporated Presbyterian church in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), shall, in addition to the matters required by article five of the not-for-profit corporation law to be set forth therein, set forth that this section has also been complied with.  The petition of the trustees of an incorporated United Methodist church shall, in addition to the matters required by article five of the not-for-profit corporation law to be set forth therein, set forth that this section has also been complied with.

7. Lots, plots or burial permits in a cemetery owned by a religious corporation may, however, be sold, also all or part of such cemetery may be conveyed to a cemetery corporation, without applying for or obtaining leave of the court.  No cemetery lands of a religious corporation shall be mortgaged while used for cemetery purposes.

8. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter in respect to a religious corporation of a specified denomination, any solvent religious corporation may, by order of the court, obtained as above provided in proceedings to sell, mortgage or lease real property, convey the whole or any part of its real property to another religious corporation, or to a membership, educational, municipal or other non-profit corporation, for a consideration of one dollar or other nominal consideration, and for the purpose of applying the provisions of article five of the general corporation law,  1 a proposed conveyance for such consideration shall be treated as a sale, but it shall not be necessary to show, in the petition or otherwise, nor for the court to find that the pecuniary or proprietary interest of the grantor corporation will be promoted thereby;  and the interests of such grantor shall be deemed to be promoted if it appears that religious or charitable objects generally are conserved by such conveyance, provided, however, that such an order shall not be made if tending to impair the claim or remedy of any creditor.

9. If a sale, mortgage or lease for a term exceeding five years of any real property of any such religious corporation has been heretofore or shall be hereafter made and a conveyance or mortgage executed and delivered without the authority of a court of competent jurisdiction, obtained as required by law, or not in accordance with its directions, the court may, thereafter, upon the application of the corporation, or of the grantee or mortgagee in any such conveyance or mortgage or of any person claiming through or under any such grantee or mortgagee upon such notice to such corporation, or its successor, and such other person or persons as may be interested in such property, as the court may prescribe, confirm said previously executed conveyance or mortgage, and order and direct the execution and delivery of a confirmatory deed or mortgage, or the recording of such confirmatory order in the office where deeds and mortgages are recorded in the county in which the property is located;  and upon compliance with the said order such original conveyance or mortgage shall be as valid and of the same force and effect as if it had been executed and delivered after due proceedings had in accordance with the statute and the direction of the court.  But no confirmatory order may be granted unless the consents required in the first part of this section for a Protestant Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian church or an incorporated African Methodist Episcopal Zion church or an incorporated United Methodist church have first been given by the prescribed authority thereof, either upon the original application or upon the application for the confirmatory order.

10. The provisions of this section shall not apply to real property heretofore or hereafter acquired on a sale in an action or proceeding for the foreclosure of a mortgage owned by a religious corporation or held by a trustee for or in behalf of a religious corporation or to real property heretofore or hereafter acquired by a religious corporation or held by a trustee for or in behalf of a religious corporation by deed in lieu of the foreclosure of a mortgage owned, either in whole or in part, whether in certificate form or otherwise, by a religious corporation.

1 Now Business Corporation Law.

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