Chancel Repair Searches and Indemnities

Chancel repair liability is an ancient interest benefiting some 5,200 pre-Reformation churches in England and Wales. It allows the Parochial Church Council (PCC) to require owners of former rectorial land to meet the cost of repairing the church chancel. Since 12 October 2013, PCCs have been able to register their interest against the title at the Land Registry. Properties that have been conveyed since that date where there is no notice of interest are clear of liability but a PCC could still register an interest against a property that has not been transferred since that date.

York Place offer a number of solutions to the Chancel Repair Liability issue.

1. Chancelcheck©

2. Pinpoint Chancel Repair Search

Both of the above are database searches that aim to provide a quick Yes or No answer to the question of whether the property is at risk. If the property is in an area believed to be free from liabilities then no further action is required. If the property is in an area at risk, both searches offer the option of insurance products to cover that risk (Chancelsure© for Chancelcheck© and Aviva for Pinpoint).

3. National Archives Search

There is no single central register which can be used to identify all chancel repair or other liabilities or restrictions attached to land and property in England and Wales. Enquirers are strongly recommended to check the deeds, the Land Registry and current landowners for relevant information. The formal record which sets out the proportionate liability of all the tithe-owners in a parish to contribute to the repair of the chancel of the church of an ancient parish is called the Record of Ascertainments. A search in the records of ascertainment will help to identify the likelihood of liability in respect of a given property as well as the proportion of the total cost to be paid in respect of each liable property. The actual amount to be paid cannot be known until repairs are carried out and their cost established.

As well as the insurance products from Chancelsure© and Aviva referred to above, York Place also offer ISIS Chancel Insurance on a bulk policy basis. This is the most cost effective method of insuring the risk of liability and can be added automatically to the local search. We have automatic cover available for properties of up to £2m in value and it can be used even if a Chancelcheck© or Pinpoint search has revealed potential liability.