Another new year here but Chancel Repair Liability still won’t go away.
You can read all about Chancel Repair Liability here to get you up to speed.
Shortly, after the initial deadline of 12th October 2013, the Church Times revealed that 89 Parochial Parish Councils (PPCs) on behalf of their Anglican Churches had lodged 601 Chancel Repair Liability notices against their titles at the Land Registry. There were also 95 cautions lodged against first registration of unregistered land.
The number of notices has grown dramatically since then.
The Sunday Times last week via a freedom of information request (apologies for the pay wall if you cannot read the full article) revealed that the number of households affected was 12,276 amassed by 247 PPCs.
The biggest culprit from the pulpit as I feel I must characterise, was St. Cuthbert’s in Lytham with 5725. St. Andrew’s in Gorleston managed 854.
12, 276 notices of Chancel Repair Liability is about 12,276 too many even in the rare occasions where the liability has been revealed in the title deeds to the property.
I suspect a level of last minute panic: PPC trustees misinformed about the possibility of personal liability if they fail to register the notices.
Ignorance of the law has led at least one PPC to register notices against people who they deem to be “able to afford it” and not seek to register against ex-Council houses and social housing.
Chancel Repair Liability is in legal jargon both “joint and several” so it would be open for any one affected by a notice to, in turn, seek a contribution from everyone else who has the liability regardless of “deemed” social status. Thereby, defeating an attempt at pastoral correctness.
I understand that the PPC in question is now reviewing its position and may well reverse its original decision.
There have been a few cases where the PPC simply got it wrong and registered the notice incorrectly.
Although the Land Registry stated they would be very rigorous in checking Chancel Repair Liability Notices, the complexity of the historical evidence required is, I would say beyond their remit and resource.
Cold comfort for those affected, though.
Have You Been Affected by Chancel Repair Liability?
If you are affected by a notice or know of someone who has please contact me as there may be something we can do to reverse the decision.
The Sunday Times contacted me in the course of preparing their article and there may be a programme on Radio 4 in the near future as well