What is a chancel check?
A chancel check is a search performed on a property during the conveyancing process that will inform a potential buyer if the property is subject to chancel repair liability. Chancel repair is a historic law first introduced in the Tudor era which enables the church to demand contributions to the repair or maintenance of a churches chancel (the area of the church that contains the alter, this can also include the walls and windows located in this area) from properties that are located within that churches parish. In order to demand contributions from property owners the church must have a registered interest in the property with HM Land registry.
Do I need one?
A chancel check provides the potential buyer with important information about whether they will be affected by future demands of contribution by the church. It allows them the opportunity to protect themselves and acquire the necessary insurance to cover any future costs.
Solicitors who do not carry out the check on a property that later turns out to be in an affected area may be deemed negligent. For that reason a chancel check is obtained along with a standard set of searches done on a property including the LLC1, CON29 and CON29DW.
What does it include?
There a few different types of Chancel Check, as standard, a conveyancer will obtain an instant check that indicates whether the property is in an area that has the potential risk of Chancel repair liability. If the check comes back positive it may be necessary to obtain a more detailed report, this report can include;
- Historical parish boundary data
- Details of which Parish the property is located
- Whether the parish has any liability within it
- Whether the property is liable and how much liability it has
Where do I get one?
Your conveyancing solicitor will do a chancel check to establish whether there is a potential chancel repair liability on a property you are looking to purchase. If the check indicates a risk your solicitor may advise obtaining a more detailed Chancel Check on your behalf as part of a standard set of searches that are carried out during the conveyancing process.
A chancel check can also be done using an independent search provider; however the information provided in the report will come from HM Land registry regardless of which search provider you use.
Has long does it take?
How long it takes to obtain a chancel check can vary greatly between search suppliers and what level of information you are looking for.
Some search providers offer an instant indication of whether the property is located in an area that has the potential to be liable. However if the report indicates the possibility of chancel repair liability it is normally strongly advised to obtain a full chancel check report.
A full chancel repair search or report, depending on the search provider, can take anywhere between 5-10 days.