Buying Property Information
Property transactions are normally subject to various laws and ordinances enacted by the States of Alderney and administered under the jurisdiction of the Court of Alderney. UK legislation and regulations, such as the requirement for Energy Performance Certificates, do not apply on Alderney.
Whether an offer is conditional (subject to survey, funding, sale of other assets etc.) or unconditional, the Vendor’s acceptance of this offer has no legal affect under Alderney Law until Conditions of Sale are signed by both parties and the deposit paid by the Purchaser (see below).
CONDITIONS OF SALE
This is usually in a standardised format and is prepared by the Estate Agent selling the property. A draft document is available from Alderney Estates upon request. The completed and agreed document is signed in the first instance by the Purchaser and the deposit (see below) is lodged with the Estate Agent as stakeholder. The document is then signed by the Vendor. Only once the Conditions of Sale have been signed by both parties and the deposit paid does the offer and acceptance by each party become a binding commitment to the sale and purchase.
A critical element of the Conditions of Sale is the Completion Date, which is agreed by both parties. It is essential that each party only sign up to a completion date with which they are comfortable and which is achievable from their perspective, since default occurs (see below) if completion does not occur on or before the Completion Date.
Should the Purchaser choose to break the contract or be in default after Conditions of Sale are executed, the full value of the deposit is forfeit to the Vendor as a penalty. Should the Vendor choose to break the contract or be in default after Conditions of Sale are executed, the full value of the deposit is returned to the Purchaser and, in addition, a penalty payment equal to the value of the deposit is also payable by the Vendor to the Purchaser.
These fairly onerous terms which apply to any breakdown in the agreed conditions of sale before completion ensure that only rarely does a transaction not complete after the signing of the Conditions of Sale and the lodging of the deposit.
The required ‘Deposit’ is calculated as 10% of the agreed purchase price and is held by the selling estate agent as stakeholder.
Completion occurs on or before the date agreed in the Conditions of Sale and is usually transacted by the selling estate agent acting on behalf of both vendor and purchaser. All sums due and necessary to complete the transaction (including duties due by the purchaser – see below) must be transferred to the selling estate agent’s account at least 24 hours prior to the Completion Date.
Completion is in the form of the registration of the transfer of the property from Vendor to Purchaser, as recorded on various official forms and certified in the Court Office by the Registrar. Forms and documents verifying the identities of the parties also need to be completed to satisfy Guernsey Financial Services Commission anti-money laundering (AML) requirements.
Neither party is physically required to be on Alderney on the Completion Date as the transaction can be executed in the absence of one or both parties. However, this is subject to additional procedures in respect of identification verification and AML and which need to be undertaken in advance of the Completion Date.
DUTIES ON PURCHASE
Duties, as described below, are payable by the Purchaser at the Completion Date. As a broad rule of thumb and for budgetary purposes only, the duty on residential property usually amounts to about 5% of the value of what, in Alderney, is termed the ‘Realty’, which roughly translates as the value of the ‘bricks and mortar’. This total duty is allocated between ‘Conge’, which is paid to the States of Alderney, and ‘Document Duty’, which is paid to the States of Guernsey.
Conge is a flat rate of 2% of the value of the realty and is applicable to all freehold property sales.
Document Duty for freehold properties is variable depending on the transaction price and the agreed value of the realty and is as follows :
|Document Duty Bands|
|£250,000 - £400,000||2.50%|
|Non- Dwellings||All Properties||3.00%|
This duty applies in full to all leasehold transactions and to all purchases by company transfer and by leasehold transfer of more than 21 years.
There is also a ‘registration fee’, payable to the States of Alderney, which is calculated as 0.05% of the realty value (minimum charge applies).