Chancel repair liability can cost you a fortune if you're buying, inheriting or moving into an affected property, but there’s insurance to protect you from local church bills.
If you own a house or building on land that belonged to monastries centuries ago, you could be legally responsible for repairs to the local church.
It's something that most homeowners know nothing about, yet it's not covered by your home insurance and can be devestatingly expensive.
Fortunately, you can get a specialist policy to protect you from a huge bill.
It only applies to churches within the Church of England or Church of Wales and is part of a medieval law brought about by Henry VIII.
You could be liable to pay for repairs to the chancel - that's the area around the church altar - as well as its walls, windows and interior.
The Parochial Church Council can choose which properties need to pay and the bill could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The church can apply the bill to a small handful of houses, rather than the whole parish.
If you’re thinking about buying a property within the boundaries of a parish church council, talk to your solicitor about whether you’ll be liable to pay chancel repair costs. It's something that should come up in the searches that are done during the house-buying process.
Chancel repair liability insurance will protect you from the cost you’d have to pay to the Church, including legal expenses.
It covers any repairs you’ll have to pay for, so you’re not caught out by a large and unexpected bill.
“Chancel repair liability insurance will protect you from the cost you’d have to pay to the Church, including legal expenses”