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Chancel Repair Liability – What Happens After 13th October 2013?

As from 13 October 2013, chancel repair liability will no longer be an overriding interest under the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002). However, such liability will not simply disappear. Instead, it simply means that further protection will be required to enforce that liability against someone purchasing land on or after 13 October 2013.

If the land has a registered title, the right to demand payment for chancel repairs can be protected by a notice in the register. Notices can still be entered after 12 October 2013, but only if there has been no change in land ownership since 12 October 2013.

The right will continue to bind the owner of land purchased or voluntarily registered before 13 October 2013 until that land is sold to a third party, even if the right has not been protected by notice in the register. Existing owners are therefore, still very much at risk from such liability.

As from 13 October 2013, a purchaser of land for valuable consideration will take free of any liability if it has not been protected by notice in the register. If a buyer has seen a copy of their seller’s title before that date, they should update the copy title before proceeding to exchange to ensure no entries have been registered since the last copy title was obtained.

If title to the land is unregistered, the right to demand payment for chancel repairs can be protected by lodging a caution against first registration. Cautions can be registered before 13 October 2013 or afterward, but only if there has been no change in ownership since 12 October 2013 and the land remains unregistered.

From 13 October 2013, a transferee will take free of any liability if it has not been protected by notice in the register at the time of first registration.

It is possible to obtain insurance against potential chancel liability, in some circumstances.

If you have any queries regarding this issue or any other property matter, please contact our Commercial Property team on 01603 620508.

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This article was produced on the 8th October 2013 by our Commercial Property team for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.