Chancel repairs can be expensive; hence it makes sense to establish if the property is under liability to bear costs for chancel repairs. Deeds, records, or questions raised directly to the seller should help to ascertain if chancel repair liabilities exist on the property. This article explains about these searches and also discusses a more modern way of conducting such a search.
Sometimes properties coming under certain parishes are historically obligated to incur costs for repairing the chancel of the parish church. This was especially common in parishes with a medieval church with a vicar. Such an interest is overriding, but from October 2013, the interest ceases to be such.Thus, after October 2013, buyers can be made liable for chancel repair costs only if such a liability is entered in the Registry, or entries that have a caution against first registration, or if the title deed makes a mention of such a liability. Although there is no evidence of this being completely true, it is widely believed that some Church of England dioceses are in the process of identifying such liable properties and register them.
As earlier mentioned, such a liability can be looked upon in the deeds and other documents, or by directly asking the seller. But a modern way is to perform a Chancel Search at websites like www.clsl.co.uk and determine if the property is within a liable parish. If the property is indeed within a liable parish, the next step is to search the National Archives in Kew to determine if the property intended to be purchased is liable. Liability may exist even if the property is at some distance from the church. Sometimes, buyers prefer to insure themselves against such liability. It is advised that such a search is carried out without fail, due to the costs involved if not complied.
Photo courtesy: ken ratcliff