Buying a house can be a challenging experience at the best of times, what with property chains collapsing, gazumping and gazundering and tighter requirements on qualifying for a mortgage under the new Mortgage Market Review it’s no wonder that approximately 30% of housing transactions never complete.
As if that weren’t enough, there are many issues that can affect a specific property for the potential homebuyer and one that has been in the news recently is something called chancel repair liability. This medieval anomaly means that the Church of England and Wales can register an interest against the property and charge the homeowner money to repair the chancel of their Parish Church. A couple from Warwickshire found this out to their cost when, in 2009, they had to pay approximately £750,000 in repairs and legal costs.
A recent change in the law has meant that once a property has been sold after 12th October 2013 the Church cannot register the liability on the title of that property and charge for Chancel Repairs. However, according to recent figures, there are approximately 26 million properties in the UK and only 3% to 5% of these sell in any one year, which means that there are potentially millions of properties that have not been sold and that can be registered by the Church for this liability.
For those people that have been through the conveyancing process recently they will know that their conveyancer will carry out a number of property searches to establish where there may be issues in relation to the property, that need to be resolved before the sale can take place. One of those searches may have been a chancel repair liability search called ChancelCheck which is an instant online search that tells you whether your property is in an area where there could be a charge by the Church. If a potential problem is identified then insurance is available to provide cover in the event that the Church does register your property. But what about all those properties that have not been sold? Homeowners can carry out the same ChancelCheck search and also buy the insurance if a risk is identified.
Don’t get caught out by this thorny issue, existing and potential homeowners should look to protect themselves and future owners from chancel repair liability. To find out more about ChancelCheck searches and ChancelSure insurance visit www.clsl.co.uk.