Your house is on land the church owned 500 years ago? Now pay!

St. Peter and St. Paul's church, Kingsbury (Bild: Peter Harrison/, CC-BY-SA 2.0)
St. Peter and St. Paul’s church, Kingsbury (Bild: Peter Harrison/, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

An ancient law which can force homeowners to pay for their local church’s repairs is blighting properties and depressing house sales, say campaigners. But what is chancel repair liability and what is the best way to deal with it?

BBC – Andrew Glover

When Elaine Hession opened the letter she almost passed out and her partner Jonathan Hill turned „as white as a ghost“.

Last month the couple received a notice from the Land Registry informing them their local church had registered its right to make them contribute to the cost of repairs.

Under chancel repair liability, homeowners living within the parishes of churches built before 1536 can be held liable for costs. The law dates back to the time of Henry VIII and, although actual claims are rare, in 2009 Adrian and Gail Wallbank from Warwickshire sold their home after losing an 18-year legal case and being left with costs of £250,000.