Eric Salaϋn, Senior Conveyancer at Voisin Property, explains the Jersey housing rules that apply to people coming to live and work in the Island as “J” category, or “essential” employees.

Currently Jersey’s Housing Law allows essential employees (“J” category employees) to purchase a property in Jersey by the formation of a Company specifically designed for that purpose.

The beneficial ownership of the Company (the shares) can be vested in the joint names of the essential employee and the spouse or partner, however this needs to be declared to the Population Office at the time of completing the essentially employed undertaking which would be sent in with the standard Housing application form that would be prepared/completed by the Estate Agent or this can also be done by your lawyer. Please be aware that the right to occupy the property is only given to the essential employee and does not permit the spouse or partner to live there on his/her own. By jointly owning the shares in the Company the spouse or partner is only financially protected and does not gain any residential rights to occupy.

It is important that the essential employee or his/her employer check with the Housing Minister that the essential employee will be given a “J” category status to occupy a property in Jersey. Once you have that confirmation and your offer on a property has been accepted your next step is to decide what name to call your Company.

At Voisin we always ask our “J” category clients to provide us with three suitable names in order of preference so that we can check with the Jersey Financial Services Commission, if one name is available and if so that name is reserved.

Once a name has been approved the Estate Agent is informed and the Housing form and “J” category undertaking (mentioned above) are completed and lodged with the Housing Department.

By this time you should already know how much the Bank will lend you to finance your purchase and it is very important that you inform the Bank of your “J” category status and that you will be purchasing the property in the Company name.

The Housing consent issued by the Housing Minister will have the usual “J” category conditions attached to it, these conditions are on the “J” category undertaking completed by the essential employee so no surprises will appear later on. The primary conditions are that no change in the share holding of the Company is permitted without the approval of the Housing Minister, that if the essential employee ceases to be employed in the capacity which the Housing Minister approved then the property has to be sold out of the Company and finally if the essential employee under the current Regulations remains approved in essential employment for a period of ten continuous years he or she will acquire residential qualifications which will entitle him or her to transact in their own name at which time the property would have to be transferred out of the Company.

The formation of the Company can be undertaken by Voisin in line with the conveyancing work required to provide you (and the Bank) with good title. Voisin are able to provide good competitive rates in this respect to make the costs of purchasing a property a little less painful!

If you are looking to buy a property under a “J” category or any other category, contact either Eric Salaϋn (ericsalaun@voisinlaw.com), John Kendall (johnkendall@voisinlaw.com) or Mel L’Amy (melanielamy@voisinlaw.com) who will be happy to provide you with a free quote.