Relationships and housing
Updated 16 May 2019
The Housing Regulations
1. Most purchases, or leases of property in Jersey are subject to conditions set down in the Control Of Housing and Work (Residential and Employment Status) (Jersey) Regulations. The Regulations require the consent of the Housing Minister as to who may purchase, lease, and occupy property subject to the person's length of residence, occupation, or certain other qualifications. These Regulations sometimes have an effect on the housing situation of couples planning to live together, or to separate. This item gives general guidance on what the Regulations require, but more detailed information can be obtained from the Population Office (Customer and Local Services), at PO Box 55, Phillip Le Feuvre House, La Motte Street, St Helier JE4 8PE telephone 445 505
Types of Tenancy
2. Lodgers are generally people who do not have Entitled or Licenced Status, and therefore their status are Registered or Registered to Work . Lodgers can lease "registered" property for their own occupation. The Residential Tenancy Law only applies to self contained accommodation including bedsits and studio flats. See www.gov.je/Home/RentingBuying/HousingLaws/Pages/TenantRights.aspx
Lodgers in private houses and sharing facilities do not have the same rights. The accommodation they occupy must be serviced, and the landlord must hold a key to the accommodation. There is no security of tenure, and couples living in this type of accommodation together may find space at a premium and lack privacy.
3. Joint tenancy. Both parties to a joint tenancy have a right to occupy the home as long as both have Entitled Status. However, both are liable for the whole of the rent if one person leaves or doesn't pay. If either of the couple wanted to get the other out, they cannot. Both have equal rights, and any change must be made by agreement between the couple and landlord. Only if one party was violent to the other might there be grounds for an injunction to remove the violent party, or in the case of a married couple, grounds such as adultery, cruelty or desertion can require the offending spouse to leave under the Separation and Maintenance Order Law.
4. Sole tenants. In this case only one partner has a right to occupy the home, and the other partner occupies the accommodation with the permission of the tenant. This situation often occurs when only one partner in a couple has Entitled Status or when one partner occupied the accommodation before the relationship became co-habiting. It is possible for the tenant to evict her/his partner at any time without an eviction order, however if there were children involved this might not be straight-forward.
5. Problems can arise if the tenant wishes the other partner to leave and s/he doesn't want to go, if the tenant leaves the home, or the tenant dies.
6. Sometimes a landlord may be willing to transfer the tenancy to the remaining partner, but if s/he has no Entitled Status this will not be possible, and the person would have to leave straight away.
Housing and co-habitation
Private rental accommodation - Entitled
7. Either partner or both partners, should have Entitled Status to rent a qualified private flat or house, but the tenancy must be in the name(s) of the Entitled partner(s). This may result in a sole tenancy (see para 4 ). See also 8.28.10 Ending a cohabitation para 5 -10.
Private rental accommodation - Registered or Lodgings
8. If neither partner has Entitled Status, the couple will only be able to occupy "registered" accommodation or lodgings. Such accommodation can be occupied in single or joint names.
Registered persons occupying private lodgings with shared facilities do not have security of tenure and may be asked to vacate the property at any time.
Social Housing- Affordable Housing Gateway
9. The Affordable Housing Gateway is used by all social housing providers to ensure that available homes go to those people who are in greatest need.
What is the Affordable Housing Gateway?
The Affordable Housing Gateway is independent from all of the social housing providers. The gateway will receive and assess all waiting list and transfer list applications.
It brings together all the existing waiting lists held by the following housing providers:
- Andium Homes
- Jersey Homes Trust
- Les Vaux Housing Trust
- Clos du Paradis Housing Trust
- FB Cottages Housing Trust
- Christians Together in Jersey Housing Trust
Applicants wishing to apply for rental accommodation must be over the age of 18, have Entitled Status and meet the following criteria to be accepted onto the gateway list:
- medical, physical or mental disabilities, in need of special types of housing
- families with young children on relatively low incomes
- people aged 50yrs or over, on relatively low incomes
10. An existing Social Housing tenant may only move a partner in to live with her/him after seeking and being granted permission. After the partner has moved in, the tenant could apply to the Social Housing provider for the sole tenancy to become a joint tenancy if both parties have Entitled Status.
Owner occupied accommodation
11. If a person wishes to move into her/his partner's home and they both agree that ownership of the property should be shared, then the person and her/his partner must seek legal advice about changing the legal title of the property to joint ownership or ownership in common.
12. However, in Jersey, it is not possible for an unmarried couple to own property jointly unless they both have Entitled Status. Owning a property jointly gives equal rights and some security to both owners, and equal responsibility. But it is possible for the sale of the property to be forced by an owner in common even if the other disagrees. See 11.1.54 Joint ownership of property.
Couples sometimes purchase property in the name of one Entitled partner only, planning to transfer the property into joint names upon marriage. Such couples should be warned that they will have to pay stamp duty on the transactions twice, once upon initial purchase, and again on the transfer into joint names although this will be at a fee £5 per page (minimum of £10) and not calculated on the property value. See 11.1.50 Stamp Duty
Share transfer property
13. As properties bought by share transfer do not come under the control of the Population Office it is possible for unmarried couples, where one partner does not possess Entitled Status, to purchase property together in this way, however they should take legal advice, as only the Entitled partner would have received Housing consent to occupy the property. The Registered or Registered to Work partner has to occupy the accommodation as 'lodger' of her/his partner, and if there should be a separation or death of the partner with Entitled Status, the Registered or Registered to Work partner could not stay in the property without consent from the Population Office. A legal agreement could be made to cover such an eventuality providing for the Registered or Registered to Work partner to recover their costs incurred in the purchase of the shares.
14. The Licenced resident can buy or lease any property in their own name provided they keep their Licenced Status. The spouse of a Licenced person can enter into the purchase of qualified property. The Minister for Hosing may apply special conditions to Licenced status therefore in the event of a separation the spouse of the Licenced person may not be able to stay in the property and equally may not be able to lease or buy qualified property until she / he obtains Entitled Status in own name.
Housing and marriage - The Matrimonial home
There are no statutory provisions in Jersey, to give couples rights and responsibilities to the Matrimonial Home as in the UK.
Private rental accommodation - qualified
15. A married couple where only one partner has Entitled Status will not be able to obtain a joint tenancy on private rental accommodation which requires entitled status- qualified sector. The Registered partner becomes the lodger of the Entitled partner who is the tenant. The exception to this is where the couple wish to take on a 'contract lease' ie nine years or more, when a Registered spouse may join in the transaction.
Private rental accommodation - Registered
Married couples without Entitled Status can rent in the Registered sector, if the accommodation is self-contained they should be given a lease agreement by the Lanlord.
Owner occupied accommodation
17. The rights of each partner to the marital home depend on whether or not it is jointly owned, and to some extent, whether there are children of the marriage.
18. In terms of housing status, it does not matter whether a couple choose to purchase property in joint or sole names, as the spouse of a person with Entitled Status is permitted to join in the purchase and occupy the property, even though s/he may not have their own Entitled Status. A Registered or Registered to Work married person gains Entitled Status after living ten years in Jersey with her/his spouse, either in rented or purchased property.
19. There is no para 19
20. Sole ownership means that only one partner's name appears on the title to the property and s/he is solely responsible for that property. It has the following implications:-
- The owner has a right of occupation unless a court order prohibits this, for example if there has been violence.
- The marriage partner has a right to occupy the home if it is their main marital home, but this right could be removed during separation or divorce proceedings. There is no automatic right to a share of the proceeds if the property is sold following separation or divorce.
- The non-owning partner can prevent the owner from selling or re-mortgaging the property as part of divorce proceedings.
- The owner has sole responsibility for mortgage repayments, but the other partner may make payments which should be accepted by the mortgagor.
- If the owner dies, the spouse has a right to a share of the property whether the owner has made a will or not, but does not automatically become the owner.
- A home in sole ownership can be transferred into joint names, for example, where one partner owns the property before marriage, stamp duty will be charged at £5 per page (minimum of £10) regardless of the value of the property. See 11.1.50 Stamp Duty.
21. A couple who jointly own their property have the following rights or responsibilities:
- Both partners are equally responsible for the whole of the mortgage repayments. If one partner does not pay towards the repayments, the other partner is responsible for the whole of the payments.
- Both partners have rights of occupation, and neither partner can be forced to leave after the marriage has ended, even if s/he does not have Entitled Status in their own right, without a court order.
- A jointly owned home can only be transferred into one person's name with the permission of partners, or by order of the court in cases of separation and divorce, subject to the transfer being approved by the Population Office.
See also 11.1.54 Joint ownership of property
22. A married couple where either, or both partners have Entitled Status may apply to the a Social Housing provider for a flat or a house, but the Social Housing provider only has a responsibility to house persons over pension age, the disabled, or couples with a child or children. In addition applicants are means-tested and therefore those persons with incomes above a certain level will be ineligible for assistance.
23. Married couples are normally given a joint tenancy, and there is equal responsibility on both partners to pay the rent due.
24. Sometimes the Social Housing provider will prefer the wife to be the tenant if the husband has no Entitled Status. This gives her more security if the husband leaves or tries to get her to leave.
25. See paragraph 14
Share Transfer Property
27. A spouse who has Entitled Status is the only person entitled to live in the property under the current housing laws. In the event of separation or death the Registered or Registered to Work spouse would need to apply to the Minister for Housing consent to remain in the property. Consent may be granted depending on the hardship.