Chancel Repair Liability is a law dating back to medieval times when the country was under the reign of Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries and made himself the supreme head of the Church of England in 1534.
At the time many monasteries employed a rector who was responsible for repairing the Churches, however the King declared that churches were to be maintained by wealthy land owners.
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 and 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 Chancel Repair Liability Report from Pali which informs you if a property is liable for Chancel repair.
ChancelCheck® is a unique, instant, low cost screening report designed to identify parishes where there is a continuing potential to charge for repairs to the parish church chancel. ChancelCheck® offers the following benefits:
- Identifies potential chancel repair liability for property owner.
- Uses a simple, easy-to-use ordering system.
- Results are delivered instantly via email.
- Available online 24/7.
Where a property is affected, conveyancers who have failed to screen for this risk may be deemed negligent.