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Chancel Repair
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# 1
Jimboceh
Old 06-05-2007, 11:31 PM
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Default Chancel Repair

I have read the past threads regarding this but they fail to answer my question which is:

If I have the enhanced search done to pinpoint whether the property I am going for has indeed the liability for chancel repairs and that my solicitor would have to inform the land registry as such - would this mean the vendor of the property would be in the position of having an uninsurable house, much devalued?

Furthermore if I didn't have the enhanced search done but just paid the insurance to be covered in case the property was liable for chancel repairs - could someone else, if I wanted to put it on the market in a few years time - do the same thing to me?

Should I not touch a property which has been flagged for this potential until after 2013 by which time the Cof E should have registered with the Land Registry which properties might be liable.

I think I'll leave it here because I'm beginning to confuse myself!

Any thoughts much appreciated.
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# 2
peach101
Old 07-05-2007, 8:00 AM
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Default do not go near this house - long post!

Read my posting/thread on another website forum here:

[HTML][/HTML]http://www.periodproperty.co.uk/discussion_forum.htm[HTML][/HTML]



I would strongly advise that you do not buy any house that has a definite liability listed with the land registry. Further, a definite registration means you will not get insurance, and the banks are highly unlikely to lend.

If there is nothing as yet listed with the land registry, your solicitor will still run a Chancel Check report (or similar), and likely has by the sound of your question. There are two reports that can come back, both of which are beyond vague. The first is a Certificate which sort of puts the purchaser/vendor in the clear, and the second is a Report which confirms that there is the real potential to be held liable. If you get this second report, whatever you do, do NOT ask any questions to the church directly (this immediately negates the ability for you or the vendor to get insurance - insurance which in reality is pretty worthless to anyone but the insurance companies, but is sadly absolutely necessary. Confused? Read on).

It is this "potential" for liability that could render the property worthless, which as you imply you won't know until 2013 by which time the church will need to have registered a legal interest. If this does happen, you can never renew your insurance and the liklihood of anyone buying your house after that is, well, unlikely.

However, if no interest is registered, this does not mean you're in the clear after 2013 because the benefit only passes to the subsequent owner. In other words, the church can still come knocking on your door if you don't sell after 2013 (but remember, this is only for houses that have the second report). So, anyone who has potential liability and finds themselves in the clear after 2013, sell before the church finds you!

The insurance may cover you if your house does get registered and you actually get slapped with a bill for repairs, but if you do then you can never renew your insurance. If the church does identify you but you never get a bill, the real risk never expires and again, renders your house uninsurable and thus unsellable. And who would buy a house that has this sort of potentially bankrupting liability? Not to mention the fact that banks would never lend on such a house.

I feel for your vendors, but do not be tempted.

It is difficult to list all the ins and outs here, and I suspect this posting will lead to many other questions, so please anybody feel free to ask. I have no agenda here other than I just think this is an awful, awful law and it must be overturned immediately. The 2013 deadline that you will read about does not effectively make this issue go away, and it will mean that this issue will become much worse as churches register their interests (and as charities they're duty bound to register financial interest wherever they can).

Prepare to see more posts on this site from desperate buyers and sellers. The reason we've not heard too much about it until now is that this deadline is relatively new and until now the complex laws kept it from being much of an issue (apart from a very unlucky few). The deadline means that the churches need to get themselves in gear or risk never being able to claim for repairs. And do NOT think that because there will be many houses in your area that the risk would be shared - not so. The church only needs to identify one house to satisfy their needs, the onus is then on that property owner to get his neighbours to cough up to help pay the bill. It's sickening.

The reason I know so much about it is that I have just completed on a property and I was very concerned about this issue as well because the cottage is in a medieval village. I researched this for dozens and dozens of hours (my poor husband can verify....) and ended up advising my solicitor about it far more than he was able to advise me. It's an incredibly complex and as I said, vague law that affects tens of thousands of homes in the UK, and not just in the countryside. And you don't even need to live near a church...

I may post a subsequent thread about this, we need the power of this website to pressure the government into action!
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# 3
supermumno1
Old 07-05-2007, 8:49 AM
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We have just spent a long time looking into this as well as we are about to buy a house with potential liability for chancel repair. There is a recent thread about it started by me - link at the bottom of this post.

We have decided to go ahead with our purchase after many hours of questioning various people and thinking hard. Most importantly we are able to insure the property with a policy from Chancelsure that will cover us not only for liability to pay for chancel repairs, but also for devaluation of the house if we choose to sell after a claim has been made against the property. This policy is able to be passed onto subsequent owners at no extra cost. We feel that this gives us quite a firm basis for going ahead. It is only valid for 25yr, and no guarantee that after that time we can renew but there is every chance that this liability will have been dealt with in law before that.

The number of churches affected by this current situation is approx 5200 I believe. Multiply that by the number of homes in these boundaries and there will be many 100,000s affected. Many of these homes are currently totally unaware of such liability affecting them, and that will also be the case at 2013. In 2002 the govenement passed a new land registration act but omitted Chancel Repair liability at the time as they believed it had been adequately dealt with by a precedent set in the court of appeal over a claim (aston cantlow vs Wallbank) that was overturned. Sadly after that the church took it to the house of Lords who decided to uphold the law after all on some technicallity about why the appeal court could not say what they said. (there are sites that will tell you that much better than me!) In an effort to start to overcome the chancel liability issues there was an ammendment to the 2002 act that added in the 2013 clause about registration in an effort to try to overcome such liability. Sadly that clause is still too open and does not address the issue fully. It was not debated in the commons I understand, and so was probably not fully considered the loopholes left open and the potential to land some properties with a higher reliative liability whilst others walk away with no liability.

The law society (see their web site) is already putting pressure on the government to change the law about this to remove any chancel repair liability. It is going to affect a large number of properties in the country in the long term IF it is enforced by the church. In devaluing 100,000's of homes the govenment itself stands to lose out from reduced stamp duty - they are going to wake up to that sooner or later and not shoot themselves in the foot. They also own property that falls on such land - our house for example is built on an old hospital site that they owned until 3 years ago. If a liability was pushed before the land was sold, it is they who would have had to pay.

The public outcry is going to be huge as more and more people realise the property they own or want to own may be affected. Pressure will mount for the law to be changed - it may take a case to go to court again perhaps but the odds on that being you are small, and if you protect your interest with a decent insurance policy you are pretty unlikely to be seriously affected in my opinion - our insurance covers legal costs anyway.

There is a petition you can sign online - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Chancel-Repair/

Here is my previous thread if it is any help too

Hope that helps.
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# 4
Richard Webster
Old 07-05-2007, 10:02 AM
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Of course it is possible that some nit in the future will do a full Chancel Search - but OP seems to have picked up the point that as long as you don't do the full search nobody is likely to find out.

Although some Churches may be actively considering the issue, I suspect a lot of them would rather it went away as it will be a lot of hassle for them to do anything about it. Also, if there were to be a concerted campaign by a particular Church it would be counter-productive in terms of the Church's mission, as the parochial church council in question would be seen as a load of money grabbing whatsits.

As about one third of the medieval (pre 1836) parishes in the country have this liability somewhere in their area you are rather limiting your choice by not buying at all in such an area.

Whilst it is possible that there will be a concerted campaign before 2013 to register these liabilites, it is much more likely it will be quietly forgotten about. I may be wrong, we will see.

I think therefore the sensible cause is to have the insurance and keep quiet. By the way, I am not sure that Supermummo is strictly right in what she says - I don't think the insurers will pay out if the property is downvalued simply because someone does a full search in the future, but only if the Church actually makes a claim.

As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.
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# 5
supermumno1
Old 07-05-2007, 10:06 AM
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That is correct - the policy as we read it does state that the payout for devaluation is after a claim. As we understand it a registration is not a claim.
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# 6
Jimboceh
Old 07-05-2007, 6:14 PM
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Thanks everyone for your lengthy responses. I must say I am at a bit of a loss as to what to do. It seems that even if we take the best insurance deal we still might be liable somehow and somehow if a claim was made by the church before 2013 the house would then become worthless. Even if we were covered against the devaluation of the house we would need to trust the insurance company to not play games and just pay up. Not sure dealing with insurance companies is so straightforward.

Would the fact that the property abutts a graveyard make any difference to the liklihood of it being liable?

By the way the solicitor said that it was the Chancel Check Report and not the certificate that he got from the search.

Again thanks for your help.
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# 7
supermumno1
Old 07-05-2007, 7:01 PM
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It probably makes it more likely assuming that church is one that still has potential to claim chancel repair liability, but it does not always follow. One of the things I have learned is that properties may be some distance from a qualifying church, and not necessarily in the country. Our purchase is on a 3yr old "new build" estate.

The only way you can satisfy your need to be sure is to do a full search. If you do this officially then it must be declared when you transfer the title at the land registry if you find the property lies within a liable plot of land. You could search yourself and get the record of ascertainment for that parish from the National Archives (can download online I think) and find an old tithe map showing the plot layout. You would need to be able to pinpoint your property on the tithe map which may not be easy then see if that plot is listed in the record of ascertainment as liable. I don't know where you get these maps from though as I could not find any online and gave up in the end.

I do believe there may be a few other circumstances when liability may still be claimed and not identified by the above search though. The national archives web site has a lot of info about chancel liability in general that may be of help to you.
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# 8
Jimboceh
Old 07-05-2007, 10:27 PM
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Question

[One of the things I have learned is that properties may be some distance from a qualifying church, and not necessarily in the country.]



Do you mean country or county?!
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# 9
Woby_Tide
Old 07-05-2007, 11:22 PM
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The questions that keep bugging me about this though are:

1) If it's such a big issue, surely anyone who doesn't move in the next 6 years is at a great disadvantage, only properties chnaging hands look like having these searches run so anyone staying put (and I guess that puts about 50% of properties in the country) are going to be non the wiser about something that has happened to their property 'rendering it worthless' *cough*? There certainly hasn't been any general public awareness of this, the backlash surely will be enormous with people finding they own 'worthless' properties......

2) If lenders won't mortgage properties at risk, why are the searches and proof of liability etc. not a requirement for the mortgage, it's almost as if some of the big lenders out there aren't bothered by it contrary to what some people seem to be hyping it up?

3) Why does only one insurer offer a policy (and why is that insurer coincidentally at the forefront of running the checks?)

4) If it's so likely to happen that claims will be made, why are policies so cheap? To rebuild a house at a cost of £150k costs well over £150 per year, yet for £60 you can have 25 year cover for £250k?

5) For the churches themselves, maintaining a popularity is already a difficult task with attendances dropping, if they start any form of mass claims or registering properties they won't be needing to repair any properties before long at all
something smells very fishy, so far we have only one proven case on record, yet it somehow is meant to be affecting 70-80% of properties
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# 10
supermumno1
Old 07-05-2007, 11:27 PM
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country as in countryside!
A few people I have spoken to seem to think this does not apply to properties in built up areas or new properties, but this is not a safe belief.
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# 11
supermumno1
Old 07-05-2007, 11:28 PM
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We have had quotes from ChancelSure and Countrywide for cover. There may be other policies out there too.
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# 12
Woby_Tide
Old 08-05-2007, 12:16 AM
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Residential Property
Period of cover 25 years, including the person who purchases the policy (not their successors) and any lender
during the Period of Insurance
Limit of Indemnity Residential Residential Residential
(2 acres) (2-3 acres) (3-5 acres)
£250,000 £59.88 £80.88 £155.88
£500,000 £80.88 £115.88 £215.88
£1,000,000 £99.88 £130.88 £275.88

https://secure.clsl.co.uk/pdf/1234C.pdf


What is your Limit of Indemnity per claim?

£250,000.
https://secure.clsl.co.uk/faq.php#q16

Bargain, a £1m policy from an insurer with a limit of £250k


What was the highest amount ever claimed by the Church of England for chancel repairs against an individual?

The highest recorded amount is £96,000 claimed in 2003.

Is that highest or 'only'? Surely there are some more stats out there about what other PCC's have claimed against properties to provide some valid comparisons?
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# 13
supermumno1
Old 08-05-2007, 10:29 AM
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Ours is a bespoke policy from Chancelsure. The highest claim so far may be 96,000 but the probability is most claims would be shared between many - though it is possible it will be up to one person to pay and then identify others who they can then share the costs with. It perhaps seems a little hefty having 250000 of cover when the highest bill so far is 96000. In our case however the policy would also cover us for loss of value of the house if a claim is made against us. This potentially could be for more than 96000 :confused:
If you are going to buy a property with a potential liability it seems a little silly not to protect yourself with a policy of some sort. There is sadly minimal choice on who you can insure with but something is better than nothing for peace of mind - unless you believe that there is a better chance of winning the lottery than getting slapped with Chancel repair bills. These policys are not vastly expensive - suggesting that the risk is pretty low in the first place, and ours certainly is a one off fee for 25years cover. What is more worrying is that many land/home owners may be totally unaware they may be liable as they have no plans to move and it was not checked out in any way when they bought the property as it was not a standard practice then. Perhaps even the house we are moving from may be affected - that we will discover in time no doubt.

Other claims - it would seem there are none in recent times that have been publicised at least. This is an old law that has only come to the fore recently following the aston cantlow vs wallbanks case.

I would be interested to hear in anyone reading this has had the church try to register an interest against their property with the land registry? I have not read any reports of that happening as yet.
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# 14
TheGame7
Old 24-05-2007, 7:19 PM
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...........

Last edited by TheGame7; 07-12-2008 at 6:57 PM.
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# 15
danuk
Old 24-05-2007, 7:26 PM
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i would pay for the idemnity and forget about it .... your covered for 25 years and to be honest it won't be an issue.... if it is cover will go up maybe ..... but if you are buying cover now for £50 for 25 years its not going to go up that much is it.....and if it does maybe a couple hundred quid for another 25 years , not a lot really...
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# 16
TheGame7
Old 24-05-2007, 7:30 PM
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...........

Last edited by TheGame7; 07-12-2008 at 6:57 PM.
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# 17
danuk
Old 24-05-2007, 7:36 PM
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insurance can either be paid to just cover you (about £50) or cover any future buyers (£100 ish)......

i suppose you could be put into that position but the chances of it happening ???

Maybe take some advice from your solicitor , only good thing is if they do make a claim it would be from all houses...... so more house equals more to divide the cost between , equals a lot less payout!!!
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# 18
TheGame7
Old 25-05-2007, 6:27 PM
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...........

Last edited by TheGame7; 07-12-2008 at 6:56 PM.
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# 19
ukbondraider
Old 25-05-2007, 7:22 PM
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Bl00dy churches,

why the hell are they even here????
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# 20
ukbondraider
Old 25-05-2007, 7:36 PM
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I didnt think this Chancel thing was at all important as my house has shown up as "to have potential chancel repair". The vendor has agreed to take out indemnity insurance.

Isnt this enough?

Is there potential I could still be fcuked by the fcuking COE?
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