Chancel Repair Liability – Church to sell off up to 105,000 acres of land…

Chancel Repair Liability – Church to sell off up to 105,000 acres of land…

The Church of England has an untapped resource of 105,000 acres of unused land and with the current housing crisis in the UK growing, it is being considered whether the land should be sold for more affordable housing. This could mean hundreds of thousands of additional properties being built that are at risk of Chancel Repair Liability.

Chancel Repair Liability (CRL) is a medieval anomaly, whereby the Parish Church was granted powers to charge those owning ‘rectorial land’ for the upkeep of the chancel of the church. However, in recent years there has been a change to the law where the Land Registry Act 2002 provided churches with a deadline of 12th October 2013 to register their interest on properties within their parish which would then allow them to claim for chancel repairs in the future should they require to do so. By the Land Registry providing this deadline, it meant the churches had just over a 10-year period to register their interest. In addition, the churches have up until the next transaction of the property meaning that if it has not changed hands it could potentially still be liable for chancel repairs.

This liability continues to affect tens of thousands of properties across England and Wales. The Land Registration Act 2002 (which came into effect on this issue in 2013) did not stop churches registering properties as liable, in fact since this date, the registrations have increased. Now if a property has changed hands for “Valuable Consideration” since 13th October 2013, and it has not already been registered against Title, then it takes the land free of the liability. In the meantime, the property is still subject to claims by the Church to register this liability and churches are still actively registering Unilateral Notices in many areas across the UK. Instant cost effective searches are available to screen against potential liability, and lenders accept that insurance should be purchased “where a potential risk of liability has been ascertained”. The general principle that insurance should not be purchased where there is no risk of liability applies to this nature of risk.

If the property does fall within an area of land where there is risk that a parish or parishes could claim for repairs to a chancel, CLS can help by insuring against CRL with ChancelSure® – a product designed to assist in securing the completion of a registration at Land Registry and most importantly, protect both your client and risk of liability.

For more information on CLS’ products and services, please get in touch by calling +44 (0)1732 897 530, alternatively email [email protected] or visit




CLS provide innovative data, search and legal indemnity solutions to aid residential and commercial property transactions throughout the UK and Europe.

From our roots in developing market leading, data led search and insurance products to offering individually underwritten, bespoke property development solutions across the UK and European markets, CLS continues to provide innovate solutions for the property market.

CLS’s panel of carriers enables us to insure sums of up to GBP 125 million of AA- and A rated paper. Additional capacity is drawn upon for larger cases.

Contact: Jean-Claude Domaingue

Tel: 01732 897 531

Email: [email protected]

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40 Churchill Square
Kings Hill
West Malling
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