Buying Near A Church Could Bring Unexpected Liabilities
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Buying Near A Church Could Bring Unexpected Liabilities

Clock  2 minute read

Carl Shave | September 21, 2021

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Churches are at the heart of communities, their proud – often magnificent – architecture dominating towns and villages; places of sanctuary and socialisation for everyone, whether or not they support the Church of England.

Maintenance is assumed to be a bishops’ responsibility, supported by appropriate insurance to cover accidental damage or theft, so it may come as a surprise that homeowners living within the parishes of churches built before 1536 (which is by far the majority if they survived Henry VIII’s persecution) may be liable for chancel repairs.

Any liability should be registered with the Land Registry by parochial church councils, but this is not always the case, so it may not appear on a property’s title deeds. Although cases are quite rare, liabilities may extend to post-war properties as well as more established housing, especially in rural villages. Estate agents should include such information on sales particulars, and sellers have a legal requirement to reveal details of anything relating to their property – whether structural, environmental or historical – which may have an adverse impact on a purchaser.

As part of the conveyancing process, solicitors will check with the Land Registry and, if they have any concerns about potential future claims, will recommend that property purchasers take out appropriate insurance on a one-off, cost-effective basis, to ensure peace of mind.

This issue further highlights the importance of researching an area before making a commitment; it’s surprising what you can discover about a community by talking to local people, including potential neighbours, popping into the local pub and grocery store, or listening to local gossip! Church ministers tend to cover several local parishes nowadays, and are excellent sources of information – just invite them for a coffee and a chat.

When satisfied and ready to push the button on a property purchase, our advisers at Just Mortgage Brokers have the knowledge and experience to identify the most appropriate mortgage to meet personal circumstances. Just give us a call.

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