Chancel Repair Liability is a law dating back to medieval times when the country was under the reign of Henry VIII. Chancel Repair Liability was the monarch’s decision to dissolve the monasteries when he made himself the supreme head of the Church of England in 1534 and he imposed that churches were to be maintained by wealthy landowners. Before then, many monasteries employed a rector who was responsible for repairing the Churches.
Since then, the large estates of land have been broken down and developed into multiple private residences, however the Chancel Repair Liability, in many instances, has been passed down to the new properties. This Law benefits around 5,200 pre-reformation churches in England and Wales and Under the Land Registration Act 1925, Chancel Repair Liability is classified as an overriding interest in registered land. This means Chancel Repair Liability still exists without the land being registered.
Chancel Repair Liability can mean that property owners could be liable to pay for repairs to the local church, with bills potentially running into tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some vicars call it a godsend, but it has been known that a chancel repair has cost one couple over £200,000 towards the upkeep of their parish church. These homeowners are called lay rectors.
It is estimated that Chancel land accounts for 40% of all land in England and Wales but there’s no single central register which can be used to identify all Chancel Repair Liabilities. When Pali provide a Chancel Repair Liability Report, the properties deeds are checked along with the Land Registry and current landowners for relevant information. A search of the records will help to identify the likelihood of liability in respect of a given property as well as the proportion of the total cost to be paid in respect of each liable property. The actual amount to be paid cannot be known until repairs are carried out and their costs established.
You can purchase a ChancelCheck Report from Pali which informs you if a property is liable for Chancel repair. There are two reports that can come back from the Chancel Repair Liability Report. The first is a certificate which puts the purchaser/vendor in the clear and the second is a report which confirms that there is the real potential to be held liable. If this is the case, insurance can then be purchased from Pali to cover the owner of the property in the event of a claim.
Pali can also offer No Search Chancel Insurance which will insure the homeowner in the eventuality the property is liable for Chancel Repair however buy choosing this option you won’t find out if the property is liable, it just covers you if you are.