The end of Share Transfer?

The end of Share Transfer?

Many people who own their house or apartment through a share transfer process will have been concerned to read of a recent Ministerial decision to bring an end to share transfer flats. The media headlines were perhaps a little inaccurate. The following will help put people’s minds at rest:

What is a share transfer property?

In Jersey there is a principle in property law that if somebody owns land, they own all that is above and all that is below that land. Until the 1990’s it was only possible to create boundaries “vertically.” To create a horizontal boundary between apartments on different floors could not be achieved as a matter of law.

In the 1960’s as apartments became more common in Jersey lawyers got around this problem by putting the whole block of flats in the ownership of a company. The shares in the company were then divided into blocks, with each block of shares giving a right to occupy an individual flat, as well as a right to come and go across the common parts of that building. The company’s Articles (the rules and regulations by which the company is operated) also obliged shareholders to contribute to the overall maintenance and upkeep of the whole block. The shares in the company could then be transferred from owner to owner giving rights of occupation, hence the shorthand “share transfer flat.”

What is a flying freehold flat?

In the early 1990’s the law was finally changed to provide that horizontal boundaries between properties could be created. The 1991 law on the co-ownership of property provided that a block of flats could be divided into “lots” by the registration of a Declaration in the Public Registry. That Declaration, in a similar way to the Articles of a company in a share transfer situation, set out a description of the lot, the rights to enjoy the common areas of the block, as well as a duty to contribute to the overall upkeep. Flats sold in this way became known as “flying freehold.”

What is the difference between the two?

After the 1991 law on co-ownership of property came into force, many flats continued to be sold by way of share transfer, despite the opportunity for a flying freehold ownership. There were various reasons for that. Firstly there were many share transfer properties already set up in companies and the cost of converting to a flying freehold arrangement served no particular advantage. The costs of transfer to the new system were relatively substantial.

Importantly however share transfer flats could be sold to people who did not have residential qualifications. Investors without residential qualifications could buy flats, albeit they could never occupy them. They were however able to let them out to people with suitable residential qualifications. Developers building new flats considered the opportunity to increase their potential market and tended to prefer a share transfer arrangement.

Equally several years ago the Population Minister decided that it would not be permissible to buy an individual residential unit, either a house or flat, in the name of a company. Investors were therefore prevented under the Control of Housing & Work Law from purchasing a single unit in a company. Because share transfer sales related to the sale of shares in a company rather than the freehold of a house or the flying freehold of a flat which needed the Population Minister’s consent the shares relating to the flat could be purchased in the name of a company. Again this was a temptation to investors as it assisted in administration and tax implications to have their investment apartments owned by a company.

Why has the Minister now changed the policy?

The Minister considers that the ability of people who are not residentially qualified to purchase share transfer property is contributing to the current high prices and rapid

inflation within the housing market. He wants to prevent non-qualified investors buying up share transfer properties and ensure that the properties are only available to those who are able to occupy them.

What does the new Ministerial decision mean?

With effect from 24th December 2021 whenever a developer applies to purchase a property either with an existing block of flats or on which to develop flats in the future, the Population Ministers Consent issued to permit the purchase in the name of a company will contain a condition. That condition will say that at the end of the refurbishment or development of the flats all units have to be sold out of the company. In effect the only way that that can be done will be by way of a flying freehold sale. Developers will therefore need to register a Declaration of Co-Ownership describing the flat and rights and duties which attach to it and buyers will buy a share in the freehold of the underlying property in that way.

Importantly however it does not mean that existing share transfer properties have become illegal overnight. Consents to purchase issued to companies prior to the 24th December 2021 remain valid and legal. Those share transfer companies which existed prior to the recent Ministerial decision can remain in operation as before. There is no material impact on the underlying value of the property. Indeed it is arguable that the historic share transfer status is advantageous because the flats can continue to be sold to non-qualified investors or held in investment companies as before. New apartments will not have that advantage.

There will be many buyers who have signed up in the last year or so to buy an apartment “off-plan” who are waiting to complete a formal share transfer purchase once the apartment is built. There are numerous sites around the Island which are being developed in that way. All of those developments would have received their Housing consent prior to 24th December 2021 and the new condition that the Minister proposes cannot be applied retrospectively to those developments. If you have signed up to buy off-plan and all Housing consents have been received prior to 24th December 2021, then you will still be able to proceed with your share transfer purchase.

I hope this provides a little more clarity than the somewhat succinct media reports upon the Ministerial decision that has been published. Of course individual circumstances may vary and if you are concerned as to the status of your existing share transfer property, or a property that you have agreed to purchase, then you should take legal advice. The property team here at Benest & Syvret are recognised experts in Jersey property law and will be well placed to advise you. Telephone us on 875875 or email if you wish to discuss any aspect of share transfer property work.

Philip Syvret


27th January 2022

Contact us.

© Benest & Syvret 2022 Privacy Policy

We Care About Your Privacy

The following website has been provided for information pertaining to Benest & Syvret and their services. The below information sets out how Benest & Syvret uses and protects the data collected via our website. When using this site, you are legally bound to the following privacy policy, so please read carefully. Privacy protection is something that Benest & Syvret are fully committed towards.

The Information We Collect

Many of our services may require the supply of personal information. When contacting us, we may ask for details such as your name, email address and telephone number. If you choose to register for our newsletter, we will require personal information including your name and email address.

What We Do With The Information

All of the information collected from the website is solely used for the purposes outlined in this document. We do not divulge any information to anyone outside of Benest & Syvret without prior consent from the website visitor – unless it is necessary to provide a requested service.

How We Make Your Information Secure

iPOP take every necessary step to ensure that your personal information is secure. We follow strict policies and follow best practice standards of security when collecting personal information. The website uses HTTPS (This is an adaptation of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for secure communication over a computer network) to help protect against your personal information being stolen, destroyed or divulged to third parties. Your personal details are stored at our restricted offices which have no unauthorised access.

What We Collect

Through the use of contact forms, call back requests and newsletter sign-ups, we may collect, but are not limited to, the following information:

What We Do With The Information We Collect

We try our best to understand your needs and provide you a high level of service. We may use the information collected for the following reasons: Internal record keeping Improve our products using your email addresses, we will from time to time send you promotional emails with things that may be of interest to you, such as news, offers and industry related articles to customise the website according to your interests

How We Use Cookies

Cookies are files which can be placed onto your computer’s hard drive, with your prior consent. There are numerous benefits to having cookies placed on your hard drive. If you have accepted, cookies are used to identify when you visit a particular site, as well as analyse web traffic. Cookies also facilitate a more personal web experience, allowing web applications to gather information about your preferences, and respond to you as an individual.

Please visit: for more information on cookies.

At Benest & Syvret, traffic log cookies are used to identify the pages that are being used. From the data provided by these cookies, we can analyse the traffic to our website and tailor it to our customer’s needs. This information is only used for the purpose of statistical analysis and the betterment of your user experience. You can choose whether to accept cookies, or not. Many web browsers accept cookies. You can decline cookies in your browser settings if you wish. However, our website and many others may no longer function correctly.

If you accept cookies, we can see which pages our visitors find useful and which are not. This provides us information to be used for a better user experience. Cookies do not allow us to do anything untoward like gain access to your computer.


This website uses the following cookies:

Google Analytics: This cookie allows us to see information on user website activities including, but not limited to page views, source and time spent on website. The information is anonymised and is displayed as numbers, meaning it cannot be tracked back to individuals. This will help to protect your privacy. Using Google Analytics we can see what content is popular on our website, and strive to give you more of the things you enjoy reading and watching.

Google AdWords: We use the Google Advertising platform to promote our services. The cookies from Adwords allow us to provide a better advertising experience

Facebook Advertising: We use Facebook advertising conversion tracking and retargeting pixels, which allows us to collect or receive information from your website and elsewhere on the internet and use that information to provide measurement services and target advertising.

DoubleClick: We use remarketing codes to log when users view specific pages, allowing us to provide targeted advertising in the future.

Email Marketing We Send May Contain Tracking Codes

If you have opted in to receive our newsletters, then this may include tracking codes that help us understand who, as well as how many people have opened or clicked on each email. This data helps us to create better emails in the future, and provide you with a better service. This data is stored on the servers of our email partners and covered under their security measures.

Third Party Links

This website may contain links to other websites. However, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting these sites and as such are not governed by this privacy statement.


Hyperlinks on this site may be shortened to hide long links for functionality and tracking.

Controlling Your Personal Information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways: if you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may opt-out at any time by emailing us which you can do via the website.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held then please contact us. If you notice or know that any information we are holding about you is incorrect, please write to or email us as at the address detailed on the website. We will correct any information you indicate to be incorrect as soon as possible.

How To Opt Out OF Cookies

To opt out of a third-party vendor’s use of cookies, visit the Network Advertising Initiative opt out page. If you want to opt out of our emails, fill in the contact form on our website. Please note that deciding to opt out of cookies for your browser may prevent webpages from functioning correctly. If you wish to disable cookies, please select the below image for your particular browser.

Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Apple Safari
Apple Safari iOS
Internet Explorer
Google Android

Variations To The Policy

We reserve the right to alter and change information provided in this document at our own discretion and therefore this document should be regularly referred to for updates and variations. If you have any questions regarding this policy, our contact details are as follows:

16 Hill Street,
St Helier,

T: 01534 875 875
F: 01534 875 885