Q. What is Chancel repair liability and how might it affect me?
A. Any property within a Church of England parish with a medieval church could be liable to contribute to the repair of the chancel. This is a duty dating from the Middle Ages. The chancel is the part of the church containing the altar.
This made headlines in 2003 when a couple were found liable for £100,000 chancel repairs. People buying properties which might be affected took out chancel repair insurance. However, since then, the law has changed. Now chancel repair liability that was not registered before 13th October 2013 cannot bind any new purchaser of the land.
If you buy a property after this date, your solicitor will know from the title of the land whether there is chancel liability. Property purchased before this date (or gifted or inherited property), might still be subject to chancel repair liability.
Graham Peebles, partner