The Importance of Chancel checks when purchasing a property.

A Chancel check reveals whether there is a potential chancel repair liability for property owners.

Chancel check reports, accurately establish whether or not the property you are considering purchasing is within a parish that still retains the potential to charge for the cost of repairs to the church chancel which could have significant cost implications should something happen to the chancel.

The history of the Chancel Check

When you are purchasing a new property, it is wise to enquire about all the legal requirements you are obliged to acknowledge ensuring a safe transaction and potentially avoiding any complications in the future. The origins of the Chancel check is from the medieval ages when homeowners living within the parishes of churches built before 1536 can be held liable for costs.

Why should you conduct a chancel search?

It is encouraged to do a Chancel check before completing a property transaction. Previously there has been instances of legal disputes between homeowners and living within the parishes of churches. In 2009, Adrian and Gail Wallbank from Warwickshire sold their home after losing an 18-year legal case and being left with costs of £250,000.

To avoid such risk, it is better acknowledge potential legal issues you could encounter when purchasing a property within a parish.  Most people do not want to get trapped by buying Chancel property. The only way to avoid such a situation is by checking the roots of the property thoroughly. Conducting a Chancel search will help you escape from this liability easily. Only an experienced and skilled solicitor will be able to cross check and find out the roots of the property.

How is a Chancel check produced?

The chancel repair search returned is returned in two ways;

  • A certificate: this is a warranty that the area of land selected falls within a parish which does not have the ability to claim for Chancel repair liability; or
  • A report: this Chancel check search result is returned when the area of land selected falls within a parish which has the ability to claim for Chancel repair liability.

When the Chancel repair liability search is returned as a report, normally you can then get chancel liability insurance – also known as Chancel search indemnity insurance – to cover you against any future claims.

A Chancel liability search by CNC Searches will let you know if the property you’re purchasing lies within the parishes of a church and whether you’re required to pay the costs of repair.



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