Thursday, July 22, 2010

On why I do not have time to quilt..

The house move is (touch wood) coming up on 11th August.
I pressed for a date so I could book time off and eventually my solicitor gave us the 11th as 'an agreed provisional date, subject to contract to be treated with caution.'
It is a good job I speak fluent lawyer!

So, on a practical level we are at the packing up stage. Or I would be if I didn't keep getting sidetracked with legal niceties;
We got the Land Registry deeds and there is a restrictive covenant that prevents the construction of a building or structure within 20 yards of the rear boundary. i.e. right where the studio is going. Ah.

Turns out you can insure against the risk that someone will come along and ask you to take it down. As the beneficiary is a dissolved company the risk is not high, but it still exists as they might have sold the benefit on. It will  cost about £500- £800 if I insure pre-build and less if I build and wait a year then insure, as they insurance company suggested. Right. So you want me to be uninsured for the riskiest period so that the premiums reduce. And the point of that is....?!! We are shopping around for quotes. I did suggest that I could always convert the loft as an alternative to a garden room studio anyway. Dennis became quite firm that I deserved a place out of the house for all my threads. I'd like to think he was thinking of me and validating my art, but somehow....

Then today I arrived home to find that the solicitors have done all the checks and searches on the house. It is not going to fall down a mineshaft and it does not have Bhopal like contamination in the ground. It does however have Chancel Repair Liability.

What? I am pretty sure I never heard of that when I was doing my 6 months conveyancing stint – and as I did my own conveyancing  for this house while I was in that post I was actually paying attention to my training.

Turns out that under medieval law if you owned land within the parish of a certain kind of church the parishioners were liable to pay half of the repair costs of the church and the rector had to pay the other half from the tithes. This liability attaches to the land and it appears that we are within a risk area for this.

Now you might think that this is nothing but in 2003 there was a House of Lords case where a couple who inherited a farm with this liability were clobbered for £196,000. As they were daft enough to litigate it to the House of Lords it also cost them over £250,000 in costs. As a result it has become a negligence issue for the solicitors not to search to see if there is a risk. And of course becuase that was so in the news, parochial councils are now aware that there might be a better way to raise money for the spire than coffee mornings.You can  insure against this risk. It is £15 for a basic search to see if you are in a risk area –that’s what we have. You can then pay £100 to do a full search to see if you have an actual risk and what proportion of the cost you might be liable for – although that would not help as even if the land is now in thousands of parcels apparently the church can just ask one party to pay it all! If you do that check though and there is a risk the insurance premiums rise because of course the risk has juts become a whole lot more certain. To insure the liability for £250,000 with a policy you can pass on to your successor is £145.88 to be insured for perpetuity or £100.88 for 25 years.... so of course you just pay up. I am finding this all terribly interesting. D is just bemused. (his word not mine). It has however proved an excuse to avoid packing in favour of an hour's internet research.

I rang the vendors to ask if by chance they had a policy. They bought in 1970 something when no one was aware of this so they don’t but they did invite us around to meet the neighbours over drinks and nibbles on Monday – isn’t that nice?

And finally I solved the T-mobile problem. Rather than a £35 iphone contract which is what I was begging them to give me. I have put my SIM into a £3.95 Virgin  pay as you go. When  ny contract runs out I am going to sign up for a £15 per month contract with a free Android smart phone and buy an I touch. I get everything I need technology wise and save £350. Yahboo sucks to T-Mobile.

PS The photo is not my parish church. It is Salisbury Cathedral. But it was the only copyright free photo I could quickly find. But imagine what it would cost to replace that roof!

PPS As I write Dennis has been looking at the cost of redirecting mail. They charge per surname not per address and of course I use my maiden name so we pay twice..... shall I just drain all my blood out now ready for moving date?

PPPS I was about to post this and D looked over. What happens to the chancel liabity, he asked, if the Church of England is disestablished?  How should I know? Only an Irishman.... I did ask him a little later what we were going to do for tea. "I don't know," he said, "Can I take out an insurance policy to cover it?


Deborah Boschert said...


Can you believe we are moving at the same time? I wish you and I could get together for drinks and nibbles and plan our studios together.

Terry said...

I have already done the moving part, but am in the midst of studio plans. I am also planning to build it separate from the house and our restriction is that it cannot be within 50 ft of the creek, which would make it impossible, but found we could submit a request for a variance which was granted. We had to promise to mitigate the impact by planting a given number of native plants around the structure. This will work. Always something, isn't it?

Joanne S said...

What sort of meal is "tea?"

When I sold my dad's house last year I had to pay so many things that I mentioned to the seller's agent that it might be simpler to burn the place down and just sell the land. Now I see there might have been good reason not to do that. It sometimes is simpler to be a colony with little or no history.

Gerrie said...

Having read much British historical fiction, I have found this to be fascinating and a possible plot for a book!!

Rachel said...

Ah, the joys of moving house!

Joyce said...

Don't worry it is entirely normal - it is why they say moving is one of top three stresses alongside bereavement and divorce. We've moved half a dozen times and there has always been something like this. For example, we've had potential breaches of tree preservation orders (not by us but by a developer), whether a footpath was moved officially or still went through garden we were buying, and buyers who have lied about their houses being sold. Makes you wonder how anybody ever moves, but they do.
Good luck! At least you'll have moved in time for FoQ.
Joyce F.

Anonymous said...

And here I thought moving in the states is difficult. I'm not looking forward to when we sell this place.
Hope the rest of this works out quickly and relatively painlessly.


Rayna said...

Dahling - we will toast to your new digs (and the phone solution) when we see each other -- SOON!! I can't wait.

Rayna said...

P.S. - what's up with charging per name for changing your address? The USPS may be lousy but at least we don't have to pay for THAT.

Margeeth said...

Hi Helen, nice to read from you again. I am not a legal person, but I loved reading the story about the chancel liability.
We also had to pay per surname for redirecting the mail, so we paid twice. And because we had to live somewhere else temporarily because our house was sold and we weren't able to buy our new home right away, we actually had to pay four times. Unfortunately, the mail that is redirected from our old home to our temporarily home is not redirected to our new home, which is quite a disappointment.
After six weeks of relentless redecorating we finally moved in our new home last friday. We are now surrounded by at least a hundred boxes, I am really tired and haven't quilted for over six weeks... Don't want to scare you, but I guess something like this is in store for you too.

Helen said...

I'm never moving again. Well not in the foreseeable future, that is.

Chancel liability?? The churches here would love that!

Are you sure you want your studio in a room not attached to the house? I just changed my sewing area to the front lounge of my house, sewed in it for a weekend and moved it all back into the old dining room, which is in the middle of the house. I hated being down the hall and around the corner from the loo, coffee and food sources and I kept forgetting to take the phone with me so I missed some calls. Still since you hav e been sewing in your 'in use' dining room I guess a separate room sounds like heaven. Looking forward to seeing the piccies.

Amy & Paul said...

That sure brings back memories. I'm lawyer and Brenda's sister and she sent me the link to remind me of just how straight forward NZ property law can be compared to the UK. I (well, my clients) once had to get a letter from the Queen to buy a property. As the foreigner in the office I was very excited.