I am buying a house close to the Parish Church in a lovely Welsh Village. My solicitor tells me I may be asked at some stage to pay for repairs to the church. Is he joking?
Your solicitor is referring to the potential liability of occupiers to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the chancel of the local Parish Church. This has arisen as a result of a high profile case involving the Church of England.
The Church in Wales have formally responded to enquiries on this issue by stating that Chancel Repair Liability in Wales was not brought to an end on disestablishment. The Representative Body holds a certain amount of information, but it is insufficiently complete for them to be able to give a definite reply to any enquiry on potential liability and they advise that anyone having to address this issue may wish to consider whether it is more cost effective to simply seek insurance cover for a potential liability.
Solicitors have for some years advised clients that the likelihood of any contribution is extremely remote and that the decision was a Church of England one in any event and that the issue has not arisen in Wales. However, solicitors now have to carry out a Chancel search in all purchase transactions which may reveal that the property is located within the historical boundary of a tithe district within a parish which may continue to have a potential repair liability.
Unfortunately, there is no legislation clarifying the position and buyers are, therefore, left to decide for themselves as to how remote the likelihood of any liability is likely to be.