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					                                                                                      Property                   B U L L E T I N

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In Brief                                                                                                             Meet the team

Welcome to the Voisin Property Bulletin.
The Bulletin will aim to update you on the latest developments affecting those buying property in Jersey.

• Property review 2009... more >
• A guide to buying your first freehold property... more >
• Residential revolution... more >
• Improve your house... more >
• Have an interest in your Will!... more >                                                                               Eric Salaun
• 360o Property drop-in events... more >                                                                               Senior Conveyancer
• A question of interpretation... more >                                                                                 Voisin Property
• The value of good business... more >                                                                                    T: 01534 500351

Property review 2009
Voisin Property’s Senior Conveyancer Eric Salaun gives his opinion of the current and future state of
Jersey’s property market.

It’s been a difficult year for the property market in Jersey. Well, yes and no. It’s been a difficult time for
first time buyers whereas for investors, not so difficult. There have been great opportunities to invest in
property either by purchasing or by lending.
                                                                                                                        Tara Family
There are encouraging signs, however, some Banks are now looking at a 10% deposit rather than 20%.                       English Solicitor
This is still a hard task considering properties for the first time buyer market can range up to £500k.                  Voisin Property
                                                                                                                          T: 01534 500351
So for a young couple looking to purchase their first home at £400k a deposit of £40,000 is required, not          E:
easy to save especially if you are currently renting and with our politicians taxing anything they can think
of. Let us hope the Banks in the New Year become even more accommodating.

There must also be concern by those owners of properties in developments that purchase their
properties with the condition of only being able to sell to another first time buyer. Yes, these owners
would like to sell and move up the property ladder but are struggling to find first time buyers with the
required deposit. These properties on average range between £400k and £500k. You may say that
these owners knew of the conditions when they purchased, but no one could forecast that the first time
buyers market would be reduced this dramatically because of the Banks lending criteria changing so
quickly.                                                                                                                 Mel L’Amy
                                                                                                                      Assistant Conveyancer
Is it fair in this financial climate to keep restrictive conditions on these developments? Maybe it’s time               Voisin Property
for the Housing Minister to review this, loosen the shackles and open up the market to other potential                   T: 01534 500351
buyers. Let us not forget that there are people out there who are also looking to downsize!                        E:

People with a growing family or just a lack of space who have not been able to bridge the price gap
have decided to stay put and extend, either with a conservatory or extension. Equity release loans
appear to have been on the increase this year.

The middle to higher range properties are trading well. Current owners looking to move from £600,000 upwards appear to have
enough equity in their existing properties to satisfy the Banks and are, therefore, in a better position to obtain a mortgage.
If you invested in property it was a good year to do so. Prices have remained fairly stable and with
rentals increasing this has certainly brought a better return for the investor than having the money in a
Bank earning very little interest. There are rumours that properties have swapped hands at 10% - 20%
less than the asking price. Those with enough properties or who do not wish to be burdened with the
everyday management of rental property have started lending. These in the trade are referred to as
Private Lenders. Private Lenders are certainly earning more interest than their money would in a Bank
Account. Private Lenders were fairly active prior to the 1990s and are now making a small comeback
and I would expect these players to remain interested until such time as the Bank provide them with a
good return on their deposits.
                                                                                                                        Lee Ingram
2010                                                                                                                   Solicitor - Litigation
                                                                                                                         T: 01534 500300
What will the New Year bring? My guess is that it will be more of the same. The Banks will be cautious            E:
but hopefully more accommodating. One thing for sure is that we at Voisin will continue to provide a
high level of service to our existing and new clients.


A guide to buying your first freehold property
                                                                                                                     Anne Hembry
It can be very stressful buying a property in Jersey, but if you have got the right conveyancing team                       Manager
behind you, then their expertise should allow you a pleasant experience when you have finally found                    Probate & Estates
                                                                                                                        T: 01534 500300
your dream home.                                                                                                  E:

Once you have decided to buy a house, what do you do next?

  • Consult your lender to see exactly how much you will be able to borrow. This will depend on the
    amount you earn and savings you have accumulated.

  • Register your requirements with various Estate Agents, check out the Jersey Evening Post or look
    online for your dream property

  • Once you have found a property and your offer has been accepted, obtain a quotation for
    conveyancing costs and remember, the cheapest quote is not always the best. Check with family/                 Georgina Jeffries
    friends/colleagues whether they can recommend someone they have used in the past who                               Head of Marketing
    provided a good service                                                                                             T: 01534 500441

  • When you have decided which law firm to use, contact the Estate Agent and let them know which
    conveyancer will be dealing with the transaction (generally the person at the law firm who gave
    you the quote). The Estate Agent will then arrange to complete a Housing application form and
    Inventory of Contents and schedule a date for completion

  • The Estate Agent will then write to your conveyancer advising them of the details of the transaction. At this stage, the law
    firm acting for you will require a certified true copy of your passport or driving licence and two recent utility bills for due
    diligence purposes

  • It is advisable to obtain a survey of the property. If you are borrowing money, your lender will usually arrange a basic survey
    to confirm that the property is worth the amount you are paying for it

  • Once your lender has full details of the property you are buying they will provide you with an Offer or Facility letter outlining
    the amount of your loan, the monthly payments, interest rate, etc. This must be signed by you and sent back to the lender
    as soon as possible as any delay in doing so could result in a delayed completion date. Once the lender has received the
    Offer or Facility letter, they will instruct their lawyer to provide your conveyancer with the relevant loan documentation

  • Complete and return any proposal forms for life insurance

  • Arrange for insurance cover for the property to be effective from the date you purchase

  • Whilst you are arranging all the above, your conveyancer will:

        - check title to the property (to make sure the Vendor owns exactly what you are buying);

        - ensure the property is not affected by any onerous restrictions or conditions (rights of way or building restrictions);

        - examine what rights are attached to the property and check that all necessary rights are possessed;

        - check if there are any outstanding mortgages and charges which may be due by the seller or his predecessors and
          secured on the property;

        - make a site visit to the property to ensure that the boundaries are correctly described; and

        - make sure that the property does not encroach upon any neighbouring property
   • Once your conveyancer has received the loan documentation, you will be asked to attend their offices to sign the loan
     documentation and for them to explain the terms of your contract of purchase and point out where the boundaries are. This
     is usually done during the week preceding completion

   • The Royal Court sits at 2.30pm on a Friday afternoon and this is when “completion” will take place. You can either attend in
     person or appoint an attorney to represent you. The Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff usually presides over the Court and when your
     contract is called you are asked to stand and raise your right hand and are asked “Do you swear that you will neither act nor
     cause anyone to act against this deed of sale of a house and appurtenances in perpetuity upon pain of perjury?” A nod of
     your head is all that is required and then keys are handed over and you are free to go and the property is yours!

   • Possession is not usually given straight away as the Vendors will have to arrange for their possessions to be removed before
     you can move in yourselves. It is quite usual for possession to be given the following day or even early the next week. The
     Estate Agent should arrange this with the Vendors and yourselves

Most transactions take between 4-6 weeks from the moment you put in your offer to completion, but there are always

We at Voisin offer a professional, efficient and friendly conveyancing service and once you have found your dream home, why not
give us a ring on our dedicated Property Team number 500351 for a competitive quote on conveyancing fees.

For further information or assistance with your property sale, please contact Mel L’Amy at or call


Residential revolution
Tara Family of Voisin Property explores the changes in law relating to Jersey Residential Tenancies and tells us what landlords and
tenants will need to look out for.

Since the draft Residential Tenancy (Law) (‘RTL’) was approved by the States of Jersey in July 2009, it has been anticipated that
the new law, regarding tenancies of residential property, will come into force this year.

The ‘RTL’ will affect landlords and qualified residential tenants entering into, varying or renewing tenancy agreements for a term
of nine years or less or without a specified term. The main benefit being that it will afford all parties a greater level of protection
when it comes to their tenancy agreement.

The new law will incorporate the ‘Residential Tenancy Agreement’ (‘RTA’), which is an agreement under which residents are
granted exclusive occupation of a property. The advantage of an RTL is that it sets out a number of provisions with regard to issues
that have in the past become problematic for both landlords and tenants.

The RTL lays down the following requirements of all RTAs:

   • The RTA must be in writing, signed by both parties and contain the following information:

        - a description of the property

        - the commencement date and expiry date or term

        - the name of the landlord

        - details of a managing agent, if there is to be one

        - details regarding rent, payment of rent and rent review (if any)

        - the amount of any deposit and details as to how and when it is to be repaid

        - an inventory of contents

   • The RTA must be in writing, signed by both parties and contain the following information:

        - a description of the property

        - the commencement date and expiry date or term

        - the name of the landlord

        - details of a managing agent, if there is to be one

    The tenant must be given at least one working day to read the RTA. This does not just apply to a new RTA but also to a
    variation or renewed agreement.

There had been cause for stringent legislation relating to deposits, similar to the new laws that have been introduced in the UK.
However, with the RTL there is no longer a requirement to clarify where deposit monies are to be held and by whom. Instead it
simply requires that a landlord must provide a tenant with a receipt as soon as possible after they have paid their deposit.

Periodic tenancies

A periodic tenancy, being one that may be continually renewed and may only be terminated by a landlord upon notice to the
tenant in writing. This notice must also be served at least three months before it is to take effect.

A termination notice given by a tenant must again be in writing, however, must only be served at least one month before it is to
take effect.

These provisions also apply to an RTA that has no specified term.

Uninhabitable premises

If during the term of an RTA the property becomes uninhabitable through no fault of the tenant, the tenant shall not be required
to pay any monies, including rent or service charge, until the property is once again habitable.

Landlord breaches

Landlords must not prevent their tenants from occupying the property subject to an RTA or otherwise interfere with the tenant’s
enjoyment of the property. Landlords who are found to have so interfered shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine.

Tenant breaches

If a tenant is found to have breached any of the provisions of the RTA, has been served notice by the landlord to cease such
conduct and continues to breach the terms, the Court may order the termination of the RTA and the eviction of the tenant. This is
only provided that the Court is satisfied that the breach is sufficiently serious to warrant such action.

If the Court orders the eviction of a tenant the Viscount shall execute that order by putting the landlord in possession of the
property. The Court can however still delay the enforcement of this eviction order and in doing so it shall consider:

  • whether any rent remains outstanding

  • whether either party has breached any provision of the RTA

  • whether either party have continued to breach the RTA or have failed to take reasonable steps to rectify such breach

  • if a stay were to be ordered where the balance of hardship would fall as between the landlord and the tenant.

  • the Court may also consider issues such as whether the term has expired, other accommodation that may be available to the
    tenant, whether a deposit has been paid and the actions of that tenant throughout the tenant’s occupation of the property.


Matters concerning RTAs can only be taken to the Petty Debts Court as they have been granted what is known as ‘exclusive
jurisdiction’. Any appeal against a decision, determination or order of the Petty Debts Court may be made to the Royal Court.

The new law will enable greater clarity for all parties avoiding previous complications. Many landlords may find that their existing
tenancy agreements fall foul of the new law. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that if any existing agreements that are due to be
renewed, revised or varied are reviewed in line with the RTL.

Should you require any information of the changes to the law or a review of your existing tenancy agreement, Voisin are able to
offer advice and assistance. Our team of Property experts will be able to highlight any potential pitfalls and advise upon areas of

For any further information or assistance with property leases, please contact the Voisin Property team on 500351 or property@


Improve your house
Mel L’Amy of Voisin Property offers some advice to those thinking of selling their house on how to increase its potential value.

As we are all well aware, during the current uncertain financial climate, property sales have decreased considerably due to the
lack of mortgages available for prospective purchasers. If you are thinking of selling your property, it could be a good idea to wait
and ride out the storm for prices to start rising again. According to UK experts, this should not be that far away, as house prices
have already started rising, but the Banks still need to start lending again...
Whilst you are waiting, why not improve the saleable value of your property by making improvements or additions, which need
not cost a fortune.

Whether it’s just a lick of paint, a new kitchen and bathroom or a whole new extension, if you have the funds available to invest,
you could be looking at adding an additional 10-30% value to your property depending on the size and the quality of the additions
you make.

If, like me, you love watching property programmes on TV, you would have seen how simple things such as changing your kitchen
cupboard doors and work surfaces or laying wooden floors can enhance your property and provide an instant “face-lift” for
potential purchasers to see when you decide the time is right to put your property on the market.

Even a good spring clean and de-cluttering can make a property feel larger to a potential purchaser, so consider more storage
space if necessary.

Here are my top tips for improving the value and saleability of your property:

  • EXTENDING OUTWARDS – a conservatory or block built extension can add an extra living area to any downstairs space. This
    will, however, require Planning permission and could be costly with the architects’ fees and building costs, but in the long
    term will add to the overall square footage of your property.

  • EXTENDING UPWARDS – if you have the space in the loft, consider putting in an additional bedroom in the redundant space.
    Again, this will require Planning permission and could be costly, but a 4 bedroom property has a higher value than a 3

  • KITCHEN – a new kitchen always looks fantastic, but for a fraction of the price you can still get that “new look” feeling.
    Replacing the cupboard doors of your units and the work surfaces and floors will still make it look like it’s had a “face-lift”, but
    won’t break the bank.

  • BATHROOM – instead of a whole new bathroom, why not just have your bath/shower tray professionally cleaned? There are
    many companies nowadays that specialise in this field.

  • GARDEN – a freshly cut lawn always makes a garden look a hundred times better than an overgrown jungle!! Clear away any
    weeds and leaves to show off your garden at its best.

  • ODD JOBS – if you’ve been leaving those odd jobs around the house, get them done before putting your property on the
    market. It’s the little things that are not done that could persuade a prospective purchaser to choose another property rather
    than yours.

  • DE-CLUTTER – put any items you don’t use regularly either in the loft, have a car boot sale or give them to charity. Remove
    personal items from show, such as photographs/ children’s paintings, which may distract potential purchasers. Buyers should
    be looking at the property, not the owner’s possessions, so hide them away until the property is sold. Removing clutter also
    makes it easier for buyers to imagine their own belongings in a room.

  • CLEAN & TIDY – make sure that your property is in pristine condition when prospective purchasers visit your house.
    Prospective purchasers do not want to see dirty dishes in the sink or washing hanging out on the line!

  • ENTICE – finally, the smell of freshly baked bread or fresh coffee is said to provide a welcoming feel to a home.

We at Voisin offer a professional, efficient and friendly conveyancing service and once you have agreed a sale, why not give us a
ring on 500351 for a competitive quote on conveyancing fees.

For further information or assistance with your property sale, please contact Mel L’Amy at or call


Have an interest in Your Will!
Anne Hembry, Manager of Voisin’s Probate and Estates team, looks at the importance of keeping your Will up-to-date.

When was the last time you reviewed your Will? I reviewed my Will recently and happily the terms of that Will still meet my
requirements and expectations as circumstances have not changed significantly recently. Does yours? Have you considered how
the death of a close relative or friend may affect the terms of your Will? Has a change of family circumstances affected the rights
or possible inheritance of other members of your family? Divorce and remarriage are common factors in complicating estate
arrangements and any disputes will result in time and expense, in addition to emotional upset. Do you wish to make more gifts to
friends and charities or to a religious organisation?

You should review your Will every time that there is a change in your personal situation.

A review of the terms of your Will should go hand in hand with a review of your financial situation. Have you considered how a fall
in the value of your house or investments may affect the gifts left to your beneficiaries? You may, for instance, have left £25,000
to a close friend. That legacy could now constitute a larger proportion of the value of your net estate than when your Will was first
prepared. Does that legacy need to be reviewed? Do you have any significant debts? Do you own property or other assets outside
Jersey? Have you made Wills dealing with your assets in separate jurisdictions? In the current uncertain economic climate, more
people are setting up their own small businesses: have you considered who should carry on and inherit your business when you die?
All of these questions should be part of the overall review of your personal and financial situation. Whilst it is not a subject many
people wish to think about, by failing to review your Will you may be placing an additional burden on the loved ones you leave
behind after your death that may compound the emotional strain at that time.

We all like to think that life will carry on in the same manner without its highs and lows. Have you considered what will happen
if something unexpected happened? A short while ago I suffered anaphylactic shock, completely unexpectedly, due to a severe
allergic reaction. Fortunately the ambulance attended in time to save the day and the outcome was a happy one (hence this
article!). There may have been a different result. Would I have been ready for the consequences of leaving a Will that I made in
2005? The answer to that is ‘Yes’ as I had recently reviewed my Will.

If you have not made a Will are you tempted to make a ‘do it yourself’ Will? Don’t! Homemade Wills are open to mistakes,
misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Many people believe that making a Will with a lawyer is too costly. Have you asked your
lawyer for a quotation for making a Will? Present them with the facts and then ask for a quote. Lawyers are willing to discuss fee
arrangements and will to talk to you without charge to establish your requirements before taking instructions.

It appears, from recent statistics, that only one in five people actually make a Will. There is therefore a large percentage of the
population whose assets may not devolve upon the people they would like to inherit upon their death simply because they either
don’t want to think about it or assume that the cost is prohibitive to making a Will. Whether you have £6,000 or £6 million, or any
figure in between, the principles of making a Will are exactly the same, i.e. to ensure that your estate passes to those that you
would like to inherit, subject to (in Jersey) the provisions contained in the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993.

The process of making a Will is not daunting. The first thing you should do is contact your lawyer to make an appointment to
discuss your personal and financial situation and your requirements and to obtain an estimate for their cost in drafting a Will on
your behalf. They will advise you on the law and will guide you through the process.

For further information about Jersey Wills please contact either Anne Hembry ( or Janina Porter
( of Voisin for a free consultation.

        360o Property
        Drop-In Events                                                                                                   	

        Voisin’s Property Team have teamed up with Choice Properties and The Mortgage Shop to
        provide monthly property events, where you can drop in to talk to our experts about any property-
        related matter.

        The Mortgage Shop can advise on your mortgage options as well as offer a brief review of your
        financial situation.

        Choice Properties will showcase the services they offer and their latest portfolio of properties.

        Voisin’s Conveyancing team will be on hand to discuss the legal aspects of property purchases and

        For further information on the next event, please contact Georgina
        Jeffries on 500441, or email
A question of interpretation?
Lee Ingram, a Solicitor of the Royal Court and often advises on contentious property-related disputes.

Those of us who have studied local conveyancing practice and Jersey property law do so with some trepidation. Property contracts
incorporate a unique dialect, which has evolved over time and through continued usage by specialists in the area. Certain words
and phrases bear no resemblance to the modern French language.

Unsurprisingly therefore, when the decision was made to change the language of property contracts to English, it was universally
welcomed. For the first time, many people standing up in the Royal court on a Friday afternoon with their right hand aloft actually
understood what it was they were purchasing.

The change was not wholesale however and only applied to those contracts passed before the Royal Court since 1 October 2006.
This leaves us with a hybrid system and most property owners still with contracts in French.

With ownership of property comes a bundle of rights and obligations. Some are created by law and some by agreement, in the
contract itself. Such obligations are referred to as servitudes and create an imposition on one property for the benefit of the owner
of a neighbouring property.

Given the unusual language of French contracts, and the ever-increasing need for owners to uphold their property rights and
obligations, the interpretation of servitudes has unsurprisingly required the Royal Court’s intervention on a number of occasions in
recent years.

The legal authorities relating to the interpretation of servitudes were recently reviewed by the Court of Appeal in La Petite Croatie
Ltd –v- Ledo & Gale [2009] JCA 221.

It was an appeal from the Royal Court’s decision earlier last year, refusing an injunction to prevent Messrs Ledo and Gale from
carrying out building works to the south of the property owned by La Petite Croatie Ltd. The company argued that the works
were prohibited by the terms of a servitude. Ledo and Gale argued that the servitude applied to a different area of land to that on
which they were seeking to build on.

The principle issue therefore on appeal, was the identification of the section of land affected by the servitude.

The leading opinion of Martin JA agreed with the Royal Court’s review of the authorities relating to interpretation. In order to
resolve the effect of the servitude, it was important for the court to determine the intention of the parties, who had first agreed it.

Any words used to create the servitude should be read within the context of the contract as a whole, and given their ordinary
meaning, wherever possible. Evidence of subjective intentions, draft clauses, negotiations and other matters clearly extrinsic to
the contract should remain inadmissible. The Court should concentrate on the words used in the contract when arriving at the
correct meaning.

This was not unusual. Where the intention of the parties to a contract had been reduced to writing, the Court has often refused
the admission of extrinsic evidence to support a particular interpretation.

However in this case, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Royal Court’s finding that after considering the wording of the contract,
the land burdened by the servitude remained undefined. This was clearly unsatisfactory to the parties as it left them with a
servitude without proper effect. Martin JA, commented,

“The servitude was intended to have a meaning, and the court should strive to give it meaning. Once again, the Royal Court
recognised this; and in the absence of any sufficient material in the contract itself or the matrix of fact it decided to look to
extrinsic evidence in an attempt to resolve the difficulty. This it was entitled to do: a latent ambiguity is an exception to the rule
that evidence of the parties’ subjective intentions is inadmissible.”

In such circumstances, neither party would be assisted, if the Court was to leave the effect of the servitude unresolved. The Royal
Court considered that the wording of the contract had created an ambiguity, the reason for which could not readily be ascertained.
In order for the ambiguity to be resolved the Court required assistance from an outside source.

A latent ambiguity was an exception to the rule that the Court could not adduce extrinsic evidence to resolve the problem. It
admitted evidence in the form of documents from the conveyancer’s file, who had acted for both parties to the contract, when it
was drafted in 1993.

It was the court’s view that the evidence was compelling and consistent with the intention derived from the terms of the contract
itself. The servitude could be given a meaning and a proper interpretation. It was clear that the parties had intended that it should
apply to a particular section of land, which would not prevent the building works from taking place.

For further information on this matter, or property litigation issues in general, please contact Lee Ingram (leeingram@voisinlaw.
com) of Voisin Litigation.


The value of good business
You’ve heard the hype, and the theory. But is corporate social responsibility (CSR) really making a change for the better here in the
Channel Islands? At Voisin Property we think so.
CSR may sound like a trendy acronym but to us it means: our projects with Mont à l’Abbé School; our awareness campaign for
CLIC Sargent Cancer Care for Children, our fund raising for both Children in Need and Leukaemia Research, to name just a few of
the charities that Voisin work with.

Across the world, corporate social responsibility is evolving into a core business concern. At Voisin we understand that CSR isn’t just
about giving money to charities it’s about our whole business model and the effect it has socially and environmentally. It’s also
about our staff; how we include them and the opportunities we present them with.

Every year we invite staff to choose their own charity. For 2009 they decided that they wanted to help a lesser-known charity
in Jersey and chose CLIC Sargent who care for children and young people with cancer. Cake sales, dress down days and auctions
have raised funds for the charity but we have also contributed in other ways. We instructed our PR agency to help raise the profile
of the charity so that they could help more families. Through press releases and interviews the charity has now received both print
and online news coverage. This is just one example of how CSR means more than just fundraising. For 2010 we have chosen to
support Jersey Autism, and our staff are keen to take part in initiatives to raise money for the charity.

Another project we are particularly proud of is our sponsorship of Mont à l’Abbé School. We have funded their sensory room
and an outdoor play area. Staff have also given up their time to launch competitions, get involved in classes and sit on the PTA
committee to help with events. Recently five members of staff were given time away from work to help the school plant their
garden. It’s vitally important to supply children with learning disabilities with stimulus for all the senses. The garden will mean that
the children can benefit from learning outside as well as in the classroom.

CSR is not just about donating money, it requires what most business deals and relationships need long-term: commitment,
dedication and relationship building. At Voisin Property we believe that our CSR strategy reflects not only our commitment to each
charity but the core values that are central to every aspect of our work.

For more information about Voisin’s CSR initiatives, contact our Head of Marketing, Georgina Jeffries (


For further information about our firm and the services offered,
please visit our website at
Telephone:          (+44) (0)1534 500300
Facsimile:          (+44) (0)1534 500350                                                       Voisin, Templar House, Don Road, St. Helier, Jersey, JE1 1AW

    Voisin, Advocates, Solictors & Notaries Public Limited is a law firm regulated by the Law Society of Jersey

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