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Residential status – do you qualify for buying property?

Property ownership in Jersey is unique in that you first need to establish whether you qualify to own property in Jersey.

residential status

The position is slightly blurred when it comes to share transfer property. Anybody can buy and sell shares in a company and, unless there are special conditions, anybody can buy a share transfer property.

However, unless the purchaser has the necessary residential status they may not occupy it. The law dealing with this is called the:

Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law, 2012

This law replaced three laws which controlled the occupation of property in the island, the commencement of new businesses, and the control of the employees they engaged. The new law requires all people who have been resident on the island for three months or more to register. When you register, a card is issued which will have certain categories printed on it determining your status, these categories are explained below.

Entitled

Entitled persons may occupy and buy any property in the island. To fall into this category you may be either:

  • born in Jersey and have lived on the island for a period or periods amounting to a total of 10 years or more;
  • non-Jersey born but have lived on the island for a continuous period of 10 years or more;
  • non-Jersey born person who arrived in Jersey before the age of 20 whose parents have lived in Jersey for 10 years or more and who has lived in Jersey for more than 10 years before reaching the age of 40; or
  • a person who has been granted the status on hardship or granted the status on social and economic grounds as in the best interests of the community.

Licensed

People with this status used to be called “J Category” occupiers under Article 1 (1)(J) of the former statute. This special status is granted to “essential employees”. People registered with this status may also buy and sell any property provided it is occupied as their principal place of residence. Often the licence will be time limited. If the employment linked to the special status is lost then the property must be sold.

Entitled for work

People with this status will fall into one of the following categories. Someone who:

  • has lived in the island for a continuous period of 5 years or more;
  • is the spouse of a person with entitled, licensed or entitled for work status;
  • was divorced from a person less than 5 years ago who had the above status; or
  • started working for an undertaking in Jersey before the age of 16 and has been working for the undertaking since that age.

They may be engaged to work by a business just as a person who holds Entitled Status. They may not occupy Qualified Property by themselves.

Registered

A person who has been continuously resident in the island for three months or longer and does not fall into any of the above categories. They may occupy property designated as “Registered” rather than “Qualified”. They may not buy property in the island.

Company acquisition of property

There are policies which prevent the purchase of residential properties in the name of a company. Companies need a specific consent to buy property. Companies may lease non-residential properties such as shops or offices without consent. Other than the lease of non-residential land or a lease to a public utility, all other leases and purchases by a company requires the advance consent of the Housing Minister.

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