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Residential Property | Glossary

Action possessoire         An action brought before the Court when one is troubled in one’s possession of immovable property, e.g. where a neighbour encroaches on one’s property or moves boundary stones.

Arrét entre mains            Distraint by the Viscount on monies held by a third party and due to the debtor, which a creditor seeks in respect of payment of debt.

Aubains A term referring to persons without British nationality or more recently without nationality of an EU member state, who prior to the ‘Wills & Successions (Jersey) Law 1993’ were incapable of inheriting immovable property in Jersey on intestacy.

Bien fonds          The land and anything that adheres to it, including all areas above and below its surface.

Bond     (1)          Written acknowledgement of a loan, usually containing terms;

(2)          Undertaking given by one party to another.

Caveat  A form of injunction granted by the Royal Court which prevents immovable property from being sold or otherwise transferred.

Cession A voluntary renunciation of all the debtor’s property for the benefit of his creditors in the context of dégrévement (foreclosure) proceedings.

Chemin de voisinage      A roadway established for the convenience of the owners of several neighbouring properties which does not lead from one public road to another.

Clameur de haro              A special formula recited in the Royal Square which is an appeal to the Sovereign for a remedy against threats to one’s lawful possession of property, whereupon an interim injunction arises in favour of the aggrieved party without the assistance Of authority of a Court Order or of an Officer of Justice.

Contract lease  A lease or lease plus to renew which has a total of more than nine years and must be passed before the Royal Court.

Conventional hypothec Either:

(1)          a “hypothèque conventionnelle simple” (commonly called an “hcs”) meaning sijnple conventional hypothec which is a type of mortgage over a property; a ” hypothèque conventionelle

(2)          fonciére” (commonly called a “rente’) which is a charge for an annual sum charged on a property, but must be reimbursed on sale;

both can only be created by a contract between the pardes passed before the Royal Court. These types of hypothec are treated as immovable estate in the hands of the creditor.

Décret  No longer applicable, it was a decree of the Court ordering transmission of the debtor’s property, movable and immovable acquired before 1881, to whichever creditor was prepared to accept it on condition of paying all prior secured claims (which included the debts of all predecessors in even if incurred after disposal of the property by them).

Dégrèvement    i.e. foreclosure proceedings. An order of the Court ordering the transmission of a debtor’s property to whichever creditor (listed in ranking order from unsecured to one with a first charge) is prepared to accept it on condition of paying all prior claims secured on that property.

Désastre              Bankruptcy proceedings vesting assets in the Viscount who collects assets and pays creditors in presented order. Désastre prevents a  Dégrèvement being ordered.

Destination        The use or purpose for which a property is held; usually mentioned in co-ownership declarations.

Destination de père de famille  Where a property subsequently divided was formerly held in one ownership at which time it was used in such a way of was in such physical state that it could be said that one of the properties drew from the other a right or service which would have constituted a servitude if the two properties had at the time been in separate ownership.

Droit de suite    The fight to follow a bien fonds into the hands of a third party to enforce one’s rights under a hypothec.

Eboulement       The fall of objects, especially rocks, earth etc from higher ground onto lower ground.

Enclavé A property surrounded and enclosed by other properties where there is no access to a public road, which renders the property land locked.

Fiefs      A large area of land the subject matter of feudal fights owed to a Seigneur (i.e. lord of the manor).

Fittings Movable items held in place with either nails, screws or pegs and easily removable without damages to the immovable to which they are attached e.g. kitchen units.

Fixtures               Items which once were movables but have been attached to immovables in such a permanent way that they cannot be detached without causing substantial damage to the immovable i.e. air-conditioning ducting, brickwork, floorboards.

Flying freehold Property where ownership of the whole is laterally (in addition to or instead of i.e. by storeys or parts of storeys.

Fourniture et garantie   A term at the end of contracts when they were in French whereby the Vendor guaranteed title to the property he was selling and the Purchaser guaranteed his own obligations under the contract.

Hypothèque or hypothec             A charge created by a contract or judgment or by operation by Law over the “bien fonds” of another which gives fight to become owner thereof accepting liability for all prior hypothecs in the event of “dégrèvement” and the right to follow the property into the hands of third parties and enforce the droit de suite

Judicial hypothec             The most common form of Hypothec. Created by a Court Judgment whether by consent or otherwise, when that Judgment is registered in the Public Registry.

Licitation             The proceedings brought by a co-owner to compel the other co-owner or co-owners to put an end to the co-ownership. The Court orders that the property be sold by public auction.

Mitoyenneté     The co-ownership of a physical boundary separating two pieces of land belonging to separate owners.

Nul n’est sera tenu de rester dans l’indivisi         Nobody can be kept in co-ownership against their will (see licitation).

Nulle promesse à héritage ne vaut           No promise to perform a transaction relating to immovable property can be enforced by an order of specific performance. It is thought to be based on the principle that one cannot be compelled to take an oath, property being transferred by oaths taken in open Court.

Ownership in common  Where a property is owned by more that one owner in such a way that each can alienate his interest without the co-operation of the other(s). On the death of a co-owner his interest in the property passes directly to his devisees or intestate heirs, unlike joint ownership where it passes to the survivor(s).

Paper lease        A lease which has a duration of nine years or less (including any period on exercise of an option to renew), which is not required to be passed before the Royal Court.

Partage A deed of division of property usually entered into with regards to dividing a deceased person’s immovable estate amongst his devisees or intestate heirs.

Pieds perche      A term used to describe a measurement in Jersey feet and inches. Although there are 12 Jersey inches in a Jersey foot, a Jersey inch is 1/ 13th not 1/ 12th of an imperial foot.

Pieds de roi        A term used to describe a measurement in imperial feet and inches and to distinguish it from measurements In Jersey feet and inches.

Possession quadragénaire           Indefeasible title to land obtained by forty years peaceful and uninterrupted adverse possession, not obtained by force, of in secret or by permission.

Saisie    Arrest of debtor’s person. Effected by a Provisional Order or Order of Justice.

Servitude            A right enforceable against the owner for the time being of another property to use that other property for a certain purpose e.g. a fight of way. Sometimes restrictive covenants are loosely referred to as servitudes but strictly they are “restrictions”.

Usufruit               A usufruct i.e. right of life enjoyment of a property by an individual other than the owner in perpetuity.

Tour d’echelle  An ancient right, granted by contract, to stand a ladder on the land of a neighbour for a width of eighteen Jersey inches closest to the boundary in order to repair or reconstruct a building. Such right will prevent the neighbour from building on the land affected.

Tuteur  A person appointed by the Court to manage and administer the property and affairs of a minor (person aged under 18 years).

Vergée A measure of land amounting to approximately 2150 sq yards, 2 ¼ vergees are almost equivalent to one acre.

Viscount              The executive officer of the Court, responsible for enforcing judgments and other Orders of the Court, conducting Désastre proceedings and presiding at inquests.

Voisinage            A quasi contractual obligation imposed by Jersey customary law whereby the owners of adjoining properties owe certain reciprocal rights and duties, which are not servitudes, but require them to use their properties in such a way that they do not injure their neighbour. Similar to the tort of nuisance, which also applies.

Procureur du bien public              Honorary official of a Parish, whose primary duty is to act as a trustee of the Parish’s property.

Promissory note               A document whereby one person promises to pay to another named person or to the order of that person, Of to the unnamed bearer, a sum of money on demand or at a certain date.

Propriété fonciere          Immovable property in or to do with land (bien-fonds) and fixtures thereto and includes fiefs, contract leases, the benefit of simple conventional hypothecs and of rentes.

Relief    A small strip of land of offset of 18 Jersey inches (approximately 16 ½ imperial inches) owned by one person towards his neighbouring property parallel with the boundary to be used for maintaining his own property. The owner has no fight to build or place anything on it or above it.

Remise de biens               A debt moratorium granted by the Court during which two Jurats appointed by the Court oversee an attempt by the debtor to discharge his debts by realising as much of his property as is necessary. Not available unless assets outweigh liabilities.

Rentes  An ancient form of charge i.e. a hypothèque conventionelle fonciere against property to secure an annual payment. Such few as remain must be capitalised and paid off on sale or other transfer of the property.

Rente viagère    A form of hypothèque conventionnelle fonciere created over a property to secure regular payments to a person either for the remainder of their lifetime or for a fixed period which ceases on the death of the person entitled to such payment or end of such fixed period. It is sometimes created in part consideration on a sale of a property as a form of secured annuity and sometimes to secure payments due as financial settlement claims after divorce.

Restrictive covenant      A right enforceable against the owner for the time being of another property to prevent that owner from using that property in a certain way e.g. no building to exceed a certain height

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