In late 2018 the Stamp Duty Law (Revised) was amended in order to eliminate the growing practice of reducing stamp duty due to the government by means of linked property transactions (LPTs). Essentially, the reason for introducing the LPT provisions was to ensure that stamp duty is calculated on the total value of the raw land and the dwelling constructed on that land in the case of an LPT where a development scheme links the purchase of the raw land with the subsequent construction of a dwelling.
'Saisie' (ie, to seize) is a court-driven Guernsey customary law process governed by the Saisie Procedure (Simplification) (Bailiwick) Order 1952. It is a three-stage post-judgment process which enables creditors to enforce their rights against debtors' realty in Guernsey. The effect of saisie is to vest all of the debtor's realty in Guernsey in the name of the creditor. The entire proceedings can take six to 12 months and place certain burdens on the creditor who initiates them.
This article outlines the real estate-related financial support available to businesses in Guernsey that have been adversely affected by measures introduced to manage the spread of COVID-19. Such support includes deferrals of tax on real property payments and government rent deferrals and renegotiations.
The Office for the Environment and Infrastructure recently announced that a new deposit protection scheme will be planned before the end of 2018. The announcement follows news that a local estate agent has ceased trading, leaving some tenants and landlords uncertain of their position with regard to rents and deposits that were being held by that agent. The proposal is likely to be that Guernsey should introduce a similar, if not identical, scheme to that already in place in Jersey.
Following an amendment to the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 which recently came into force, Jersey's discrimination legislation has been extended so that businesses, service providers and those managing and letting premises must take reasonable steps to avoid disadvantaging people with disabilities in relation to the accessibility of their premises. Avoiding indirect discrimination involves anticipating, and not just reacting to, disadvantages that may be caused to disabled persons.
The start of lockdown initiated a significant slowdown in the property market in early Spring 2020. Reassuringly, as Jersey came out of lockdown, there was an exponential increase in property transactions, which peaked in August 2020. If the rapid resurgence of the market seen in the summer is anything to go by, any reduction in transactions over the winter months which is beyond the seasonal norm may lead to a similar increase in activity and competition next spring.
The States of Jersey enacted the COVID-19 (Residential Tenancy) (Temporary Amendment of Law) (Jersey) Regulations 2020 in an attempt to address the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulations temporarily amended certain provisions of the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011, applying to all residential tenancies with effect from 10 April 2020, and remained in force until 30 September 2020. As of this date, landlords and tenants must manage leases in the normal way under the law.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jersey courts are prioritising certain cases and are unlikely to deal with property-related matters. As such, the government recently issued commercial property guidance to encourage landlords and tenants to negotiate temporary compromises with regard to lease obligations in a reasonable manner if either party experiences financial difficulties arising from the pandemic.
The Law Society of Jersey issued guidance regarding the courts' COVID-19 contingency plans, noting that planning appeal hearings have been suspended due to independent inspectors being unable to travel to the island. New appeals will continue to be processed without the final hearing dates being fixed at this stage. Therefore, parties that wish to appeal a planning decision must meet the usual timeframes.