Check out Any Church Liability First; Homeowners Living near Anglican Churches Can Face Surprising Repair Bills. Rukhsanah Haroon Explains

Article excerpt

CHANCEL repair liability is an ancient law which can force homeowners to pay for the repair of their local Anglican parish church.

Under chancel repair liability, homeowners living within the parishes of churches built before 1536 can be held liable for costs.

While it is commonplace for conveyancing lawyers to check a purchaser's liability for chancel repairs, existing homeowners may still unwittingly be liable to cover costs if their home lies on land which has been registered by their local parochial church council (PCC).

The law around this situation changed as of October 12, 2013, which was the cut-off point for PCCs to register land liability with the Land Registry. However, what must be noted by homeowners and purchasers alike is that chancel repair liability can still be enforced in some circumstances.

Properties could be registered as liable even after October 2013, if the house had not yet been sold to another owner. Properties where an interest has already been registered will remain liable if they are later sold.

If a property is found to have chancel repair liability and no insurance is in place, it is usually not possible to secure it retrospectively - or if successful, costs can run into thousands of pounds.

It could even reduce the market value of the property or make it unsellable Liability for chancel repair will not necessarily show on the title deeds of a house, and it always advisable to put in place chancel repair insurance to cover the full purchase price and ensure that it is transferable to future buyers. …