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Update | Commercial property: Chancel repair liability, parking enforcement

Magnus Hassett, Ed Tennant and Ben Brayford consider recent developments in commercial property law including changes that may free property owners from ?chancel repair liability and lessons over parking enforcement

2 November 2012

Chancel repair liability, as practitioners will be aware, is an ancient rule allowing certain churches to claim the cost of repairing the church chancel from those who own land previously owned by the church. There have been many calls for its abolition but the House of Lords in the 2003 Aston Cantlow case upheld a couple’s liability for repair costs of £186,000 (as well as legal costs) and the government has repeatedly confirmed it has no plans to legislate to abolish chancel repair liability.

However, changes to the Land Registration rules in 2003 provided for ten year transitional provisions for certain ancient property rights, including chancel repair liability. After 12 October 2013, these rights – including franchises, manorial rights, crown rents and chancel repair – will cease to be ‘overriding interests’. In other words, liabilities that bind the property even if there is no record...

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