Chancel repair liability has been a thorny issue for conveyancers, home owners and home buyers for many years. The issue also applies to commercial property. It centres on the liability of a small number of owners of properties in certain localities to pay for the repair and maintenance of their local Anglican parish church. Having caused uncertainty in the property market the issue needed resolving.
In 2002 Parliament set out to remove the uncertainty by setting a deadline of 12th October 2013 for the churches to protect their interest at the Land Registry against affected properties. The issue hit the headlines this time last year as the media reported on stories of Land Registry notices and blighted property in the run up to the widely publicised deadline.
So one year on where do we stand? Unfortunately the position does not seem to be as clear cut as might have been hoped
The position now seems to be this:
if an interest has been noted on the title of a property prior to the deadline then that property will have a potential liability in the event of the church enforcing. If however an interest has not been noted on the title of a property prior to the deadline then an opportunity for the Church to register a liability still exists unless the property has changed hands full market value and this transfer has been registered at the Land Registry. In this sense the deadline was a misnomer. It is for this reason that we are still advising clients to obtain indemnity insurance to cover themselves unless and until the property has been sold at full market value post 12th October 2013 In addition, any party receiving a property post the deadline by gift, undervalue transaction, inheritance or divorce could still be liable as this will not qualify as full market value so indemnity insurance would seem prudent
If you have any queries on this or any other property issue then please do not hesitate to contact one of our Conveyancing team