The commercial property

Living Near a Church Could Cost You, Literally

Posted on 4 August, 2012 by Rachel Mellor

Many people choose where they put down their family roots depending on certain criteria, like good schools, low crime rates and scenic views.But did you know that if you live within a parish of England, you may be subject to pay for your local church’s repairs.

This may sound medieval and outdated – which I guess it kind of is, given that it is a 500 year old law that the Government is using to pay for much needed repairs on the commercial properties.

“I think this is the tip of an iceberg. How big the iceberg is we will find out over time.

“This could be replicated across the country, that’s an awful lot of people whose lives are about to be blighted and their homes unsalable,” Peter Luff, a local MP in Worcestershire said.

But you may argue that you don’t even attend church, but under this law that doesn’t matter. It is based on how near your house is to the religious commercial property. But parishes have only until next year to register the liability at the Land Registry for any repairs needed, as a ten year deadline set by the last Government to comply is about to expire. After which, your local parish will resume all liability for any repairs.

Who pays for church repairs?

But if the local community doesn’t pay for church repairs, then who does? According to the Charity Commission, members of the Parocial Church Council (PCC) could be liable for the charges.

“The divisive impact on communities, often in villages can’t be overstated.

“The members of PCCs are forced to impose on their friends and neighbours a potentially crippling financial liability,” Mr Luff added.

Do you live near a church? Have you received a letter about paying for church repairs? Share your stories below.

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