Unfortunately a recent decision by Jersey Planning to change practice will impact on conveyancing time frames and in all likelihood will result in Jersey property transactions taking longer to process. This is not good news for Jersey property clients.
Whilst there are critics of the Jersey conveyancing procedure, in general the speed of conveyancing up to now has been satisfactory. From instruction a conveyance will be processed often less than 4 to 5 weeks from instruction, which is, for example, far quicker than England.
To explain the situation.
Property lawyers acting for purchasers are required to issue a request to the Jersey Planning department on the property in question. This to check historic planning and building applications.
Up to the end of 2017 Jersey Planning were really helpful and processed applications swiftly. In general terms this took no longer than 5 working days.
Jersey Planning have now stated that for 2018 they will process planning search enquiries on the following basis. Firstly, they will require a cheque, which must first be cleared (a cheque can take circa 5 days to clear depending upon when it is presented) and secondly, they have stated they will take at least a further 10 working days from when the cheque has been cleared to process the application and thereafter provide a reply.
To highlight the issue. The estate agent will issue confirmation of instruction to the lawyers. Once this instruction has been received the purchaser lawyer will issue a request for information from the Vendor lawyer. The Vendor lawyer will collate this information (which includes information required to make the planning application). The Vendor lawyer will then send this back to the purchaser’s lawyer who will in turn issue the Jersey Planning search request. The time period from request to the provision of the information from the Vendor lawyer, takes around 10 working days. Under the new procedure, Jersey Planning will then take at least a further 15 working days to issue the planning reply. Thereafter the reply will need to be reviewed and if any issues are disclosed on the planning reply these will have to be dealt with. This is likely to mean that overall, Jersey property transactions will take more like 6 – 8 weeks to process.
In an attempt to find a solution to maintain the time frame of around 4 to 5 weeks, Jersey Planning was approached by Parslows Jersey to request confirmation that property lawyers could set up payments on account and or use online payment facilities. Jersey Planning have stated this is not possible and as such we (all Jersey property lawyers) are left with no option but to make payment by cheque.
Whilst perceived as a minor amendment, the butterfly effect of this decision by Jersey Planning will be that this new procedure will impact on the overall timings which Jersey consumers have grown to expect when buying or selling property.
As to our clients, we will try our best to maintain the transaction times but this decision by Jersey Planning is likely to have an impact on transaction times. Please bear with us on this.
As to Jersey Government, it beggars belief that you promote Jersey as an internationally recognisable centre for digital industries but one of your own departments cannot even organise something as straightforward as payments on account and or the use online payment facilities.
For more information about Parslows Jersey residential property team please click here.
Issue date | 4 January 2018
Tel: 01534 630530