Q. My friends have been told by their lender they have got to purchase chancel indemnity insurance because their property is in a parish which is potentially liable to chancel repairs. I live only a mile away from them and I am worried that my property might be affected. How can I find out and what can I do if it is?
A. To find out if your property is at potential risk to chancel repair liability you should ask your solicitor to carry out a relatively inexpensive search. The search result will tell you if the property is, or is not, within a parish which is potentially liable.
If the search reveals your property is potentially liable for chancel repairs - make no further investigation (as this loses you the option to obtain indemnity insurance).
On October 13th 2013 the law changes. From that date, if your property is unregistered, upon sale or first registration of the title, it will be registered free of any future liability for chancel repairs, unless this right has been protected by the Parish Church Council (PCC) via a caution against first registration.
For properties whose title is already registered, even if the PCC has not registered a Notice on the title by 13th October, they may still do so up until a sale of the property. Only after the sale can you be sure the property is not liable for chancel repairs. A gift or transfer for no money will not free the property of the potential liability.
Once a caution/notice has been registered it will not be possible to obtain cheap indemnity insurance for chancel repair liability. If you have concerns, consult your solicitor - and have them arrange for indemnity insurance.