Citizens Advice Bureau

Housing, Land & Property Law

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Boundaries - "Relief" ( 11.8.54.L1 )
Clameur de Haro ( 4.6.0.L10 )
Control of Housing and Work Law Housing Status ( 11.5.0. )
Establishing ownership of property ( 11.8.52.L7 )
Eviction Proceedings ( 11.12.12 )
House Purchase - removal of goods ( 11.1.30.L4 )
Housing Regulations and Property ( 11.6.0 )
Housing Status - Methods of proving residence ( 11.5.0.L5 )
Joint ownership of property ( 11.1.54. )
Joint purchase / leasing ..... Married and unmarried ( 11.5.0.L12 )
Land measurements in Jersey ( 11.1.50.L5 )
Life enjoyment of property - "Usufruct" (11.5.20)
Lodgers and the Law ( 11.1.8.L4 )
Parish Rates and Appeals Procedure ( 11.8.40. )
Personal possessions left behind by a tenant or lodger ( 11.8.2 )
Purchase of Freehold Property (11.1.30.L2)
Purchase of property - Flying freehold ( 11.1.30.L7 )
Purchase of property - Share Transfer ( 11.1.30.L6 )
Registration of Tourism Properties / Keeping Records ( 11.8.0 )
Residential Statuses (11.5.0.L6)
Residential Tenancy Law / Agreements / Regulations and Orders / Condition Reports ( 11.1.14. )
Restrictive Covenants ( 11.8.54 )
Stamp duty on property purchase/transfer and death ( 11.1.50 )
Status of occupiers - ( 11.5.0.L7 )
Statutory Nuisances (Jersey) Law 1999 ( 11.8.52.L2 )
Three month exemption rule (11.1.15)
To obtain a copy of house deeds ( 11.1.50.L2 )
Transfer or Jersey realty into joint names ( 11.1.30.L5 )
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LOCAL INFORMATION

11.1.54
Joint ownership of property

Extent: Jersey
Updated 25 November 2013

 

Types of co-ownership

1 The contract written at the time of the purchase defines the nature of the ownership. There are two forms of ownership recognised in Jersey law, joint ownership and ownership in common. Unless there is express wording in the contract stating that there is to be 'joint ownership', then the presumption in Jersey law is that co-ownership is by 'ownership in common'.

Differences in terms of co-ownership

2 The most important difference between types of co-ownership is what happens on the death of one of the owners. See paras 3 and 6.

Joint owners

3 Most married couples buy property as joint owners. On the death of a joint owner her / his interest in the property passes to the surviving joint owner.

4 A joint owner cannot transfer ownership of her / his share of the property to someone else without the agreement and participation of the other owner.

5 One joint owner cannot mortgage her / his interest in the property separately for the other owner.

Owners in common

6 On the death of one owner in common, her / his interest in the property passes on to her / his heirs.

7 Where property is inherited by several parties, eg members of a family, ownership is by ownership in common. One or more may wish to sell the property to realise its value. If not all are in agreement the sale can be forced, see paras 11 - 13.

8 Ownership in common may not be simultaneous in some circumstances. For example, each of three owners may have enjoyment of their land for one year in three.

9 An owner in common can transfer the ownership of her / his share in a property at any time without the need of the agreement of the other owners in common. If an owner in common wanted to transfer her / his interest to more than one person, s/he should seek legal advice, as this would result in the total number of 'shares' in the property being increased. This may not be permissible.

Wills and inheritance

10 The provisions in a will cannot override the rights and duties of co-owners as recognised in common law.

Forced sale - 'licitation'

11 Under Jersey law no-one is obliged to remain in a property co-ownership if s/he wishes to withdraw. A co-owner, whether joint or in common, can compel the other co-owner(s) to join her / him in bringing the co-ownership to an end. If the other co-owner(s) do(es) not agree, the Court can be asked to order the property be sold by auction (and the proceeds divided). This is known as the common law of an 'action en licitation'.

12 If an order is granted by the Court, and the co-owner(s) still do(es) not agree to co-operate with the sale, the Deputy Viscount will be authorised to act on behalf of the unwilling owner to bring about the sale.

13 The fact that the sale must be by auction enables any co-owner to bid and so raise the price, or purchase the property outright for her / himself.

Forced sale during divorce proceedings

14 The threat of a forced sale of the marital home could prejudice the negotiations during divorce proceedings. For this reason, the Family Division of the Royal Court may order a forced sale (action en licitation) to be delayed or suspended for a period specified by the Court top allow for matters involving the sale of the property to be discussed without such pressure.

Alterations to property

15 Co-owners cannot alter property owned in common except with the agreement of all of them. Should an alteration be made against a co-owners wishes, legal advice should be recommended to seek re-instatement or compensation.