Chancel Repair Liability dates back to medieval times, when Churches (or more specifically their Chancel's were maintained by wealthy land owners, since medieval times what used to be large estates of land have now been broken down in to many thousands of privately owned properties, yet the potential for Chancel Repair Liabilities has been passed down to successive owners of the land or buildings.

Thankfully these archaic laws are changing, and once October 2013 has passed, unless the Church has expressed a specific interest in your property (by noting their interest with the land registry) you, or your property will no longer be at risk, on the flip side however this does of course mean that there is an increased risk of Churches investigating potential liabilties for properties within their parishes. The Church of England have published a details FAQ's section relating specifically to Chancel Repair Liability, which provides interesting reading, you can read it in full by clicking here.


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What is a Chancel?

The Chancel is usually situated at the Eastern End of a Church and is reserved for use by the Clergy and Choir, this area is usually seperated by the Communion Rail.


Chancel repair liability can trace its roots back to before the reformation of churches in England and Wales, where churches were either ministered by a vicar or a rector, a rector was responsible for the repairs of the chancel of his church (around 5200 churches).

Now hundreds of years later and numerous property / land transactions and sub divisions, the chancel repair liability has been passed onto the new owners and still exists today, these owners are technically known as lay rectors. The recovery of funds from lay rectors is governed by the Chancel Repairs Act 1932.