Overriding interests are legally binding against a landowner even if not apparent from an inspection of the title register or unregistered deeds and are of considerable historic origin. They can include interests such as “manorial” rights and rights for churches to claim a contribution towards chancel repair.
Chancel repair liability came to prominence in 2004 when the House of Lords upheld a liability against Mr and Mrs Wallbank, requiring them to contribute around £250,000 in repair expenses and costs towards the upkeep of the chancel of their parish church.
On the 13 October 2013 following the government decision to remove overriding status from a number of interests meaning that anyone buying land or property will have more information about rights affecting that land or property.
As a result, all interests must be registered on the title of the property to remain in existence. If not registered, they will eventually be extinguished.
However, the interests will only be extinguished if they are not registered at the time of the next “registrable disposition” of registered land or, in the case of unregistered land, first registration.
Conveyancers have for some time been carrying out chancel liability searches to establish whether a property being purchased is within a tithe district or parish with a known record of liability to make a financial contribution. Such searches will continue to be required after 13 October 2013 unless there is certainty that the property being purchased has since been transferred for ‘valuable consideration’ or registered for the first time.