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Buying a Property in Jersey with Your Partner

First Time Property Buyers | Residential Property

Happy couple is taking keys from their new house from broker and smiling.

If you’re considering buying a property in Jersey with your partner, there are a few things you should know before you start the process of looking for a home, especially if you’re both first-time buyers in Jersey. We’ve put together this guide to explain the Jersey Housing Qualifications, the types of properties you can buy and your options when it comes to percentage ownership and mortgage repayments.

Jersey Housing Qualifications for Couples

In Jersey, you need to be “qualified” to purchase a property. The Housing Qualifications determine what type of property you can buy in Jersey. There are four categories that determine whether you can buy or rent a property. However, if only one of you meets the qualification criteria for buying a house, you may need to purchase the property solely in your or your partner’s name.

Here are the four categories of Housing Qualification explained:

  • EntitledEntitled status relates to persons who are resident in the Island and have been for at least 10 years. Entitled status persons are able to buy rent and or lease any type of Jersey property.
  • Licensed — As a Licensed individual, you can rent or buy any property in Jersey as long as it isn’t a first-time buyer property or social housing. However, you are only allowed to own or rent one property on the island. You can gain a Licensed status if you are an essential employee, but it is worth noting that if you lose your employment status, you will also lose your Licensed status. In this case, you’ll have three months to find another role or sell your property.
  • Entitled to Work — If you are entitled to work in Jersey, you can lease registered property in your own name as your main residence. You will also be able to buy property jointly with your spouse or civil partner if they hold an Entitled or Licensed status.
  • Registered — As a registered individual, you won’t be able to buy property, but you will be able to rent registered properties.

Do You Both Have First-Time Buyer Status?

If you and your partner qualify to purchase a house in Jersey, you should check whether you’re eligible for first-time buyer benefits. First-time buyers in Jersey can purchase first-time buyer properties (homes with attractive price tags to help you move up the property ladder). First-time buyers can also benefit from reduced stamp duty when buying a house for less than £450,000.

To qualify for first-time buyer status, you’ll both need to meet the following criteria:

  • You hold a permanent Entitled status
  • You have never previously owned property (anywhere in the world)

If you have previously purchased a joint property or inherited a house, this is still classed as having owned property, so you may not meet the criteria for first-time buyer status. In some circumstances you may be able to enjoy first-time buyer benefits if one of you doesn’t meet the criteria but the other does.

Entering an Equity or Cohabitees Agreement

Buying a property in Jersey with a partner means you’ll need to decide how much each of you is going to contribute to the mortgage and how the proceeds of a sale will be distributed.

Couples who buy a property together are often in different financial situations, and it’s common for each party to make different contributions. If one of you is putting down the whole deposit or making a larger contribution towards the mortgage, you may want to think about adjusting the percentage of ownership to compensate.

If you are not married or in a civil partnership, it may be a good idea to enter an equity or cohabitees agreement to protect your percentage ownership if anything goes wrong within your relationship or you decide to sell at a later date.

Many circumstances can be covered in such an agreement to suit your needs, but both you and your partner should have independent legal advice to ensure you fully understand your position when buying together.

So if you are considering buying with another party, it is vital that you consider, discuss and take advice on all the circumstances so that an appropriate agreement can be put in place. It is also important that you create a will to ensure that the terms of the agreement are followed through in the event of your death.

Reviewing and Updating Your Equity or Cohabitees Agreement

While entering a legal agreement is a consideration when buying a property in Jersey with a partner, you should note that the clarity and effectiveness of the agreement will only be tested when the house is sold or if you and your partner separate.

While you may enter an agreement expecting your contributions to remain the same, the actual arrangements can change over time. For example, if the financial contributions of the parties have changed or a cohabitee has given up work to care for children, the agreement may need to be reviewed.

Therefore, it is important to periodically review the terms of the agreement as circumstances change. Also if you do enter into an agreement you should follow it. The Court is going to be reluctant to enforce terms of an agreement neither of you follow.

What Happens if Your or Your Partner Passes Away?

It’s not nice to think about, but it is worth considering what will happen to your property if you or your partner passes away.
Most commonly, properties are purchased jointly, so if one party dies, the property passes solely to the survivor..

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.
How Can Parslows Help?

At Parslows Jersey, we understand that buying a home together for the first time is a big step. We can help make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Our team of residential property lawyers and conveyancers can offer uncomplicated and friendly advice on buying a property in Jersey for the first time.

For advice, assistance or further information on buying together in Jersey please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on property@parslowsjersey.com or call 630530

Please note that the information provided on this website is for general information purposes only and is designed to provide you with an outline of the legal services we offer.  Whilst we endeavour to ensure our information is correct and useful, we make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information offered.  Information on our website does not constitute legal advice and Parslows Jersey accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising out of, or in connection with, the information found in this website.  Please consult a lawyer at Parslows Jersey in the event that you require professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of the same, is correct.

Parslows Jersey are here to help with all your legal queries call us today on +44 (0) 1534 630530

Or email us on enquiries@parslowsjersey.com