Chancel Repair Liability
Chancel repair is a liability dating from feudal or mediaeval times. It allows the Parochial Church Council to require owners of former rectorial land to meet the cost of repairing the church chancel.
It can benefit mediaeval churches or a church built on the sites of former mediaeval churches.
Chancel repair liability may, or may not, be set out in the title deeds of a property.
Why take out Chancel Repair Liability Insurance?
Chancel repair liability (or right to a payment in lieu of tithe) is currently an overriding interest that runs with the land and as such does not need to be registered against the title of a property for it to be enforceable against the property owner by the Church. Recent case law shows these can still be enforced.
Cover can be arranged for residential properties, commercial properties and development sites as follows:
- Where there is a known definitive liability and the chancel liability is specifically set out in the title deeds or registered title. Alternatively where a search of the Record of Ascertainment held by the National Archive at Kew reveals a chancel liability against the property.
- Where there is known potential liability and a basic chancel search reveals the property to be within the boundaries of an historic parish for which there may continue to be a chancel liability but the title deeds or registered title do not reveal a definitive chancel liability.
- Where it is unknown whether there is any potential or definitive liability and the title deeds or registered title do not reveal any chancel liability. It may be that no searches have been undertaken to discover whether there is a potential or definitive chancel liability or searches have been received that are clear.
Chancel Repair Liability Insurance Benefits
Chancel repair liability insurance provides a financial protection against losses that might arise in the event of the enforcement of a chancel repair liability against the property owner.
Generally, a policy will provide cover for loss relating to:
- The amount of the demand for payment relative to the chancel repair liability
- Reduction in market value
- Costs of settlement
- Defence costs
- Cost and expenses incurred with the Insurer’s consent
A chancel repair insurance policy generally provides cover in perpetuity and as such can usually benefit successive owners of the property and their lenders.