Buying and selling property
The vast majority of changes to land and property in Guernsey are carried out with the correct planning permissions and building regulation licences in place, where these are required.
Property altered without the correct planning and building permissions in place, in addition to being unlawful and potentially unsafe, can create problems when the property is sold on.
- Example: A house is advertised and sold with bedrooms in the roof space. The new owners would like to further alter and extend the property. However, when planning permission is sought, it becomes apparent that no approval has been granted for the loft conversion, which contravenes several Building Control and fire safety requirements. In order to rectify these problems, it costs the owners a considerable sum of money which was not anticipated when they purchased the property.
Action would not be taken against new owners in respect of breaches committed by the previous owners. However, the property may no longer meet with the new owner or leaseholder's expectations or aspirations.
The Environment Department has two mechanisms in place to help protect residents from a scenario like the above:
- Immunity Certificates: Immunity Certificates provide those entering into an agreement to purchase a property with the reassurance that the Department will not be taking enforcement action against them for a known or suspected breach of planning control.
- Property Searches: Property Searches provide prospective purchasers and others on the planning history and status of residential and commercial property on Guernsey and can identify potentially illegal work.
For further information or to request a property search or immunity certificate please click on the relevant section.