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Chancel Indemnity Insurance

(9 Posts)
CaveMum Wed 15-Jun-11 13:44:13

Anyone have any experience?

We are in the process of buying a new-build house and have had the result of searches back from our solicitor. She has flagged up that the property (along with all others in the 8 house development) fall within a historic parish boundary which still has a responsibility to the local church.

Basically, if the church needed (for example) a new roof all properties within the boundary would be required to pay towards the cost! Our solicitor said the risk is very very small but that we can buy an insurance policy to protect ourselves against such a request.

The insurance is not that expensive (one off £130 to protect the us and any future residents or £80 to protect just ourselves) but it is yet another cost to add to the mounting moving costs! Has anyone else taken out similar insurance or fallen foul of similar historic conditions?

nocake Wed 15-Jun-11 16:20:40

It's a scam. The company who do the searches are the same company who provide the insurance. They say it's necessary on the basis of a single case where a couple had to pay a large amount to repair the church because they owned a house. What they don't mention on their website is that the house deeds made a specific reference to the liability to the church, which means the case doesn't apply if you don't have anything mentioned in your deeds.

The liability (if it actually exists) is ancient and has never been enforced by any church (except in the case I've already mentioned). The chance of it beinig enforced is almost non-existent as the church has stated that it doesn't like the liability (it causes them problems with getting funding from other sources) so would never claim it. In the extremely unlikely event of it being enforced the amount due would be calculated using an archaic calculation then spread across all properties in the area, resulting in a tiny amount being paid from each household.

CaveMum Wed 15-Jun-11 16:31:56

Thanks for that. Our solicitor did say it was a "very, very small risk" but said she had to mention it before we signed the contracts.

LadyGoneGaga Wed 15-Jun-11 19:03:55

We've just shelled out for this blush. Apparently there was a landmark case recently where the people appealed, it went to the House of lords and they ended up with a legal bill of £250k. So I just paid up. But ours only cost £50.

CaveMum Wed 15-Jun-11 20:07:50

I've been googling away on this subject and while many people agree that it is a bit of a scam, several people mention having problems selling on a property with such a liability attached to it.

We may not take it out now, but look into it further down the line.

I wouldn't be blush LadyGoneGaga if it gives you peace of mind then it is the right thing to do. the case you refer to keeps being cited but form what I gather it was a unique case as no other houses were affected by the liability. In our case I gather that the whole village (about 500 homes) would be liable so any cost would be spread across everyone.

nocake Wed 15-Jun-11 21:47:05

There's a useful article here

CaveMum Wed 15-Jun-11 22:14:24

That article is very handy. I shall send it on to my solicitor!

PropertyAddict Thu 16-Jun-11 12:51:34

I spoke to the couple who had the landmark case against them and it was a really sad case. I agree that it's really unlikely, but the Church of England has until 2013 to hunt down and register chancel repair liabilities so until then I personally wouldn't take the risk (I paid up when I moved four years ago). I know that the company involved are likely to be hyping it up the risk for personal gain (and I'm sure they've made a fortune), but the reality is that the church can, and has, asked parochial church councils to start looking elsewhere for funding. Roll on 2013!

nocake Thu 16-Jun-11 16:00:02

Another article by someone who's done some research on the issue.

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