A recent case in which the owners of a farm faced ruin because their property was saddled with an ancient responsibility to maintain the local church received a great deal of publicity, and has prompted a change in the applicable law.

So-called ‘chancel repair liabilities’ (CRLs) can attach to properties and have no impact on successive owners of those properties for centuries, only coming to light when a major refurbishment of the church (in the recent case, a new roof) becomes necessary. The consequences can then be disastrous for the owner of the affected property. It is normally possible to insure against the risk of a property carrying a CRL, but not against the cost of a CRL claim where a property is known to be at risk.

A change has now been made to the law and this will come into force on 13 October 2013. From that date, a CRL will have to be registered by way of a notice against the property title in order to be effective against a buyer of a property which is registered land. This will mean that the prospective buyer of a property that is subject to a CRL will be warned of its existence when the usual property searches are done. Existing CRLs are unaffected.


    Get in touch

    Discuss your situation with an experienced Solicitor by filling out the form below or by ringing us on 0208 735 9770.

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.