Often a first time property purchase will mean buying together in Jersey. This raises questions about how different contributions made by the buyers will be treated and how the proceeds of a sale will be distributed.
When buying together in Jersey, one party may be putting down the whole deposit or making a larger contribution to the mortgage repayments. Perhaps only one party has the housing qualifications, so a freehold or flying freehold property needs to be purchased in the sole name of the qualified party. Or it may be that one party may have children from another relationship and wishes to protect their inheritance. All of these circumstances can be covered in an agreement, commonly referred to as an Equity or Cohabitees Agreement.
Many different circumstances can be covered in such an agreement to suit the clients’needs and each will need to have independent legal advice to ensure he or she fully understands his or her position when buying together. If you are considering buying with another party, it is therefore important that you consider, discuss and take advice on all the circumstances so that an appropriate agreement can be put in place.
It is also very important that you make a Will to ensure that the terms of the agreement are followed through in the event of your death.
Most commonly properties are purchased jointly for the survivor of them so if one party dies the property then passes solely to the survivor. Indeed this is almost invariably the case with Share Transfer property, where the shares are held jointly. However freehold and flying freehold property can be purchased as “tenants in common”. This means that each party can own a fractional share in the property which they can leave to others by Will. The fate of the surviving owner must however be considered should such an arrangement be adopted.
It must also be remembered that the clarity and effectiveness of an agreement is only tested when the parties separate. If, possibly over a number of years, the actual arrangements in place have differed from what was envisaged at the time of sale – for example if the financial contributions of the parties have varied or a cohabitee has given up work to care for children – the agreement may no longer be valid. It is therefore important to review the terms of the agreement as circumstances materially change. Ultimately an action brought before the Court will determine how the justice of the case is to be met, as happened in 2012. In that case the circumstances had changed so much the agreement was set aside and the Court made an order that it determined was just and fair.
For advice, assistance or further information on buying together in Jersey please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630530