At HomeInfo UK we always strive to offer our clients the full range of products and searches aimed at the conveyancing process. Recent and innovative chancel search additions are the ChancelCheck and ChancelRepair insurance products.
Chancel liability dates back to medieval times. It exists where the church was granted powers to charge rectorial property for the upkeep of the chancel of the parish church. The risk is unquantifiable, not detailed in the title documents and can affect any property.
Media attention has been focused on chancel repair liability in the last few years, due to a couple being forced to pay over £95,000 for repairs to their local church. The homeowners in this case (Aston Catlow v Wallbanks) were also faced with £140,000 legal costs, in a case which ultimately went to the House of Lords and enforces the Church’s right to charge parishioners for church upkeep.
A commonly held misconception is that a property must be adjacent or close to a church to be at risk from a chancel repair liability, or that a property must be in a rural location. In fact, ancient rectorial land was not necessarily close to the church.
From October 2013, unless the church has expressed a specific interest in your property (by noting their interest with the Inland Revenue) you, or your property will no longer be at risk.
This does mean that there may be an increased risk of churches investigating potential liabilities for properties within their parishes before this time.
The following chancel searches are available from HomeInfo UK Limited
ChancelCheck is a low cost and accurate screening report designed to inform the legal profession as to whether or not a property is situated within a historical parish where there continues to be a potential for chancel repair liability. ChancelCheck is the only service which combines historical parish boundary data, modern Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping techniques and information derived from the relevant Inland Revenue Indices held by the National Archive.
This service is recommended in every transaction and currently is available for £20.00 +VAT.
Title Checker is a unique report that interrogates official Land Registry data assisting conveyancers with their title investigations. Each report includes the Official Copy of Register of Title from the Land Registry (RRP £3.00) and speeds up preparations for Report on Title, by identifying issues in a clear and digestible format.
Read more about a TitleChecker report here
Chancel Repair searches are carried out at the Public Records office to ascertain if there are any entries against a specific property in that parish which indicate liability.
This is available for £117.50 including VAT and is recommended where the client wants a definitive answer and is not looking at an insured solution.