Chancel repair liability is the requirement for an owner of property to pay for the repairs to the chancel of an Anglican Parish in England and Wales. The Land Registry have estimated that approximately 5,300 parishes could be affected by chancel repair liability.
It has been, what is known as, an overriding interest under the Land Registration Act 1925, until it was decided that this law will change on 13 October 2013. From this date it will no longer be an overriding interest. However chancel liability will not be totally abolished. A notice will have to be registered if the liability is to bind new buyers.
However, property bought prior to 13 October 2013 may well cause problems for landowners because until it is sold this law will continue to affect the land even if the right has not been protected by notice in the register and if a notice has already been registered, the land will permanently be bound.
The right to demand payment can be covered by registering a caution against first registration which can be done before 13 October 2013 and even after 12 October 2013, but only if there has not been a change in ownership since 12 October 2013.
There are high risks with Chancel Repair Liability. For example, in a 2004 House of Lords’ case, landowners had to pay the Parochial Church Council more than £95,000. With these risks in mind, expert advice should be sought on whether the liability is likely to be a problem in any transaction which we at Edward Hands and Lewis can offer.