Chancel Repair Liability (CRL) dates back to 15th Century. If a property is in a parish with a vicar of a medieval church then there may be a liability to contribute to repairs to the chancel.
CRL is known as an “overriding interest”. This effectively means that anyone buying land/property affected by the liability will be subject to it whether or not it is shown on the Register in registered land or on unregistered title to the land, and whether or not the buyer/ owner was aware of it.In one instance homeowners received a demand for almost £100,000 to fund repairs of their parish’s medieval church. After a protracted legal battle the House of Lords found in favour of the Church Council, leaving the homeowners with a £350,000 bill including legal costs.As a result of this case, the law was changed under the provisions of the Land Registration Act 2002 so that such interests have to be registered. The onus was put on Parochial Church Councils to identify all affected land and register their interest before 13 October 2013.However, there are circumstances where parties can register after the 2013 deadline and thus properties purchased and registered before the 2013 deadline still remain vulnerable until the property is next sold.
Unless a previous purchase of the property took place after 12 October 2013 it is recommended that a chancel search us undertaken and CRL insurance obtained if required.