Latest comments

Chancel Repair Liability is Fun

I'm not in any way qualified to comment on this, but that's my reading of the situation too - my layman's interpretation of the law is that once the property has been sold after October 2013 without an interest being registered, you're fine. Arguably if the church has been actively raising funds recently, but hasn't registered an interest before October 2013, then they're probably not going to do so in the next few weeks...

I wouldn't be too suspicious about the lack of chancel liability insurance - it only started to become a thing from 2003 onwards, so I'd guess it's not unusual for people sat in properties for a while to not have heard of it. To me, the fact that they haven't heard of it speaks volumes to the true risk.

TBH I was a bit surprised to hear they're still doing the checks, but I guess it's mostly to see if an interest has been registered? Or are they still using it to try to sell insurance for the period between the check and completion? "Oh no, our insurance business model has been destroyed by government legislation - never mind, we'll just keep selling the same thing 2 years later." That's pretty ballsy.

That said I'm not a lawyer, so really I have no idea what I'm talking about. It's your decision, but I'd suggest that you speak with the solicitor doing your conveyancing to get a more up-to-date understanding of the situation - it would be interesting to hear if you find anything out though!

Rammers

I'm buying a house and have just got a ChancelCheck report from our conveyancer that advises the property is within a parish that continues to have a potential chancel repair liability.

I've spoken to the seller who has owned the property for 22 years and had no idea about the above and as such has not taken any insurance out.

As I understand it, if an interest has not already been registered then it still could happen up until completion...after that time we would no longer be liable for CRL and could go on to sell the house on worry free in the future?

If an interest has already been registered would I have been informed already? There is also the possibility that the seller could be telling porkie pies.

I am so confused!

There is an church within a mile or two that dates back to 14th century and is assesed for repairs every 5 years where funds are raised by parishioners "money raising efforts".

Married!

Leela

Awesome photos and great memories. You deserve a comment! x

Engaged

scootch / kelrabi

Wishing you a lifetime of love. Congratulations to you both!

radiac replied:

Thanks! Good to hear from you, hope you're well!

shewolf

Sending best wishes an hugs to you both

radiac replied:

Thank you!

Awesome!

Hearty congratulations. :)

radiac replied:

Thanks!

Chancel Repair Liability is Fun

Bumpy: that really sucks. I'd talk to a solicitor about what to do next - I like the sound of option 3, but have no idea if it would work in the eyes of the law. If the value of the land really has dropped as a result of this though, it may be worth talking with an accountant to see if he can use the loss to reduce your tax liability.

A New Website

It's up now, on the site and in the projects section.

There's a new TCMI on the way! In fact it's written, and in the projects section - I just need to add it to the site. Probably won't happen until tomorrow now though.

SheWolf

Guess what I came on my yearly visit for?

Chancel Repair Liability is Fun

Bumpy

I have a very small plot of land which I have owned since 2002 and for which there may be a minor chance of getting planning permission many years from now. The Land Registry have now written to say that the Church have registered a CRL against the deeds. (NOT A CLAIM FOR MONEY).

The land is now blighted and I am resigned to loosing most, if not all, of its current value, but I would still like to hold on to it for my young grandchildren. Getting insurance now is just about impossible. So are there any ways of isolating myself from the churches greedy clutches.
Suggestions so far include. (1) Keep selling the land for £1 between friends and stay one step ahead of the church, who might get fed up chasing the claim and move elsewhere. (2) Sell the land for £1 to the poorest person I know. (3) Sell the land into a Limited Private Company, where it becomes the only asset. In this way, the most the church can get at is the value of the Company (land), which thanks to them is zero.

Bearing in mind I am not a lawer, my understanding of the situation is that from now on the church has to have registered an interest with the land registry before you buy the property.

Until the property is sold, they can still register an interest - but that would show up on the land registry before the sale is completed, and I'd imagine that it's the solicitor's responsibility to notice that and advise you accordingly.

I think this should mean that there is no longer the possibility of a potential liability - there's either a liability registered on the land registry, or there isn't. The law change should mean that the ambiguity has gone - there's no longer a question of whether your property is on glebe land, and no longer a reason to trawl through ancient manuscripts in the national archives at Kew.

So given that the chancel liability insurance is to cover any potential liability, and there can no longer be a potential liability, I'm thinking that you'd now be buying insurance for something that can never happen.

I would be curious about what happens if the liability is registered between your solicitor doing their initial searches and you exchanging contracts. No idea what would happen there, although I'd imagine it would probably involve suing the seller for not disclosing that information during the process.

Ultimately though your solicitor really should be aware that the situation has changed, and should be able to explain to you why you still need liability insurance. If they can't explain it, either they need to go away and find out, or you need to find a better solicitor. If anyone has received any actual legal advice, please post what you've heard - it would be nice to finally conclude my article!

Jason

So, here we are... 19th October 2013. Six days have passed since the 'deadline' and not a single mention of it in the news anywhere. Have people simply forgotten about CRL?

It would appear as though the solicitor we are using for a house purchase (not completed yet) is none the wiser. She's just recommended we take out liability insurance, which left me confused...

What's the deal with buying a property now? Surely it's now just a matter of doing a Land Registry Search to detirmine if the land (or any part thereof) that the property we're buying sits on, has been registered as Glebe land by the church. If yes, we're screwed 'cos there's no insurance in place but if not, we're in the clear?

Or can the church still slap an order on after the deadline, if they are made aware of the property/land by nature of a search having been made after the deadline?

Penelope Wainwright

I think this is absolutely abominable. The Church is one of the richest organisations in the world and to force people to pay for Chancel Repairs to the Church and not care whether those people lose their homes in the process goes against everything that I thought the Church stood for as loving and caring. Absolutely disgraceful and if I was asked to pay they could go to hell where they belong. They could have be locked up but not a penny piece would they get from us.

Graham Barnes

Been looking at this insurance as the property I'm thinking of buying has a liability. I read on a solitor's website (cluttoncox) that improvement costs can be factored in to any claim, as apparently happened in THE case. I rang ChancelSure and asked them whether this was right - after a pause the reply was 'as long as it forms part of the repair'. I pressed it by suggesting that, say, the altar has been destroyed and an improved one is required costing (who knows?) £10000.
They'd cover that then?
Much longer pause followed by 'Ah - grey area'.
I wrote to them asking this question -
this question:
'Will the insurer settle all and any claims notwithstanding'

They referred me to their policy conditions which was no help, so I wrote again. No reply - nothing.
So it looks like we have a potential uninsurability, which to my mind renders the insurance valueless. I don't expect a reply because to admit that they may not pay all the claim ( if improvements are factored in) would have a detrimental effect on any insurances already issued.
Wonder if these policies will be the subject of the next round of mis-selling?

Andy

I've taken the view that it's up to the buyer to indemnify themselves, just like with every other form of insurance.

They can pay/waste their money as they choose :-)

I wonder how many cases there actually are of the church exercising this right?

Daniel

The government in the UK is very much against any religion. Supporting CRL turns people away and against from religion and churches. The medieval law simply helps them achieve their result. Greediness of the church does not help either.

Hi Ketan,

As usual, I'm not a lawyer etc, but I think the church could still register a liability - from what people have said here in the comments, it seems to be about who owns the property in October 2013 - the law change will only affect new sales after that, or something along those lines.

If you're worried about it, you could go back to your solicitor and ask them whether they performed a check; if they haven't, you may have grounds to go after them in the event of any trouble. I'm not sure whether you can buy the insurance after the sale has gone through, but you could always ask.

As for the potential/definite liability thing, the standard chancel check that solicitors do is for the potential liability, which is what the insurance company insures against. It seems to be "Is this house anywhere near a church? Yes! Money please!" Apparently to confirm a definite liability, you have to do some serious digging through the national archives at Kew; probably not something a standard check would throw up, so not likely to be something that would get you brought to the attention of the land registry or your local arsonist rector.

Ketan

Hello,

Sorry after reading much of the above and is great to read, I still have a question.

I brought a property in March of this year 2013. Nothing came back from my solicitor to say it was on glebe land and to take out insurance.

The neighbour told me today his solicitor did pick this up about 4 years ago and he paid £60 for the insurance covering 25 years, I'm guessing he already had a fridge.

Now the question, the fact the property was sold to me and is prior to October 2013 and if it wasn't registered by the local parish by the time I bought, does that mean that this property is now exempt from this Church Repair liability?

Also, now that I have exchanged and I am the property owner, if I go back to my solicitor to see if the check was made or to make the check, do I give up my rights to take out the insurance if the check comes back positive as I've changed it from potential to definate liability? And in essence alert the land registry in the process and flag my property as being on glebe land bring the property value down as well bringing it up on the church parish's hit list?

Thanks

Ketan

Thank you Radiac for this 'diary' on CRL Like you we find ourselves in a similar situation in buying a house with 'potential CRL risk' Although we resent the insurance and solicitor admin fee, our real issue is that this archaic law still exists. We feel this archaic law should be abolished and have just set up a page on facebook https://www.facebook.com/chancelliability if the link doesn't work please look up People Against Chancel Liability. We are trying to raise awareness and support so that we can lobby for the law to be abolished. Please look at the page and if you agree then please 'like' the page (if you don't want to see in your newsfeed or notifications then just untick those on the drop down menu when you press 'like'. The importance of getting 'likes' is to get attention. Please feel free to share any of the info on the page with family/friends. Thank you.