Homeowners may be breathing a sigh of relief following the widely publicised reports that ‘chancel repair liability’ (CRL) must now be registered to be effective – but the risk still remains for some.

CRL can arise where a parish has the legal right to make properties that fall within its boundaries responsible for the upkeep of the church. Such liabilities can be both unexpected and financially ruinous.

In a recent case involving CRL, a couple who found that they carried the legal responsibility for repairing the steeple of their local church were forced to sell their property after their legal battle to avoid the liability failed.

Since 13 October 2013, the church must register the liability at the Land Registry against a relevant property for CRL to apply. However, CRL can be registered at any point until the property has been sold, so for a continuing owner the potential liability can still exist. Once a property has changed hands after 13 October 2013, CRL can no longer be registered and the liability cannot attach to the property.

Fortunately, you can insure against CRL if the potential liability has not been registered.


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