Chancel repair liability
Chancel repair liability

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Chancel repair liability
  • What is chancel repair liability?
  • Problems associated with chancel repair liability
  • Dealing with the risk of chancel repair liability
  • The future of chancel repair liability

STOP PRESS: The Law Commission has finally launched its 13th Programme of Law Reform. The 14 new project areas include chancel repair liability. The announcement confirmed that the project will ensure that chancel repair liability does not bind purchasers of land, unless it is registered—and therefore visible—to purchasers, avoiding the need for purchasers to undertake chancel repair searches, or to pay for insurance. The report confirms that the intention of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002) was that chancel repair liability should not bind purchasers of land after 2013 unless protected on the register. However, since LRA 2002 was brought into force, a question has arisen about the legal status of the liability, and so whether homeowners are nevertheless bound despite LRA 2002. The project would aim to close the loophole and so achieve with certainty what was intended to be achieved by LRA 2002.

What is chancel repair liability?

Chancel repair liability is an ancient interest which benefits a large number of pre-Reformation churches in England and Wales. It enables Parochial Church Councils to require owners of former rectorial land to fund repairs to the chancel of their local church.

Historically the rector of a church was responsible for repairs to the chancel (the space around the altar at the east end of the building) and was able