What is Chancel Repair Liability?

Chancel repair liability is an obligation which relates to properties located within some historic parish boundaries. The obligation originates from mediaeval times where land, previously owned by the church, was sold and the new owner became subject to an obligation to contribute to the upkeep of the chancel of the local parish church.

Any property located within the boundary of a parish where such a liability exists could be caught by the liability to pay for the upkeep and repair of the chancel. However, changes in the law mean that, since 13 October 2013, chancel repair liability is no longer an overriding interest. This means that if you are (1) buying or selling a property that is in a parish with a potential liability and (2) if a chancel repair obligation has not already been protected on the registered title for the property (or a caution where the land is unregistered) then the liability or potential liability of that property may be extinguished when the property is sold.

Unfortunately, until the land is sold for value, the liability will, if it exists, be binding and payment for chancel repairs can still be demanded from the land owner.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.