Cadastre administers the Tax on Real Property (TRP) system of property taxation and also maintains the Cadastre Register of Property Ownership.
- The word "Cadastre" (or "Cadaster") is of French origin and loosely translates as a list or register of ownership of real property.
A brief history of Cadastre
- To discover the origins of the Guernsey Cadastre we know today we have to go back to the taxation system established by King Charles VIIth in the 15th century. This system varied by region, e.g. districts in northern France (where tax was levied on an individual basis and inhabitants of large towns such as Paris and Lyon did not pay) and districts in the south (where tax was levied on non-privileged land and everyone had to pay).
- The inequality of this system would prove to be a factor leading to the revolution of 1789.
- Establishing a general Cadastre in France would not prove easy. A proposal in 1763 was met with a hostile reaction from the provinces. Another in 1791, this time approved by Louis XVIth, had to be adjourned as it could not be financed by the state. In fact, it was not until 1807 during the Napoleonic period that a general Cadastre was finally established in France.
- The Guernsey Cadastre was originally formed in 1910 and derives from the French system. It initially levied tax on owners of property bordering the old "Grandes Routes" of the island in order to pay for the upkeep of those roads. The "Grandes Routes" are believed to have been originally built during the 19th century for military purposes. One road on the island still bears the name "Route Militaire" or "Military Road".
A simpler, fairer system
- With the introduction of TRP, the opportunity was taken to modernise the method of property taxation and create a simpler, fairer system that would treat everyone as equal. TRP is based on three key principles:
- Simplicity; A system that is logical, easy to explain and easy to understand.
- Transparency; A system that is open and responsive to questions about its method and purpose.
- Equity; A system that is moral, fair and treats all property owners equally.
How is property measured for TRP?
- Cadastre currently employ two full time TRP surveyors. Nearly all property is now measured externally from the roofline (or the edge of the guttering) using modern Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment, to an accuracy of 10cm.
- GNSS currently consists of approximately 60 satellites belonging to the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian system GLONASS.
- Tools of the trade. Our surveyors use three main tools to measure property: the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and the Total Station. For internal measurements a laser measuring device is used.
- Size is everything. The size of a property determines the number of "units" it has (or its "unit value"). So, the bigger a property is the higher the unit value will be.
- Units of Measurement. One TRP unit = 1 square metre of built property or One TRP unit = 50 square metres of land.
- Vergées and Perches. When Guernsey adopted the metric system in 1965 it was decided the traditional Norman measurements of Vergées and Perches of area would remain legally valid. Although this is no longer the case and the current Tax on Real Property (TRP) method utilises the metric system to measure built property and land, Cadastre still maintain a record of the equivalent Norman measurements of Vergées and Perches.
- 1 Vergée = 40 Perches, 1,638.8m² or 17,640 Square Feet.
- 1 Perch = 41m² or 441 Square Feet.
- 1 Acre = 2.469 Vergées.
- 1 Bouvée = 20 vergées.
If a change is made to a property which affects either the plan view area (the size) or the property reference (the use), it is the duty of the property owner (or the agent or guardian of the owner) or any life tenant to inform the Cadastre in writing (online or by letter). In accordance with Article 15 of The Taxation of Real Property (Guernsey & Alderney) Ordinance, 2007 as amended notification must be made to Cadastre in writing and within 28 days.
What sort of changes does Cadastre need to know about?
- New buildings, extensions, demolitions or partial demolition. A building is constructed (or demolished) or an existing property has become larger, or smaller.
- Subdivision of a single unit into multiple units. e.g. a single dwelling has been converted into flats (or apartments).
- Roofspace conversions. An attic area has been converted to a habitable room.
- Change of use. A property (or part of it) is now being used for a different purpose.
Changes that won't affect TRP
- Replacement windows. Minor cosmetic changes such a new windows do not need to be notified to Cadastre, unless they affect the size or use of the property.
- The number of radiators, bathroom fittings and the installation (or removal) of central heating. The number of radiators in a building did affect the rateable value under the TRV system, but this is not the case under TRP.
- Connection to a main drain. A connection to a main drain used to affect the rateable value under the TRV system, but this is not the case under TRP.
If you are unsure if a change you have made to your property will affect the TRP, contact us.
The Cadastre Register of Ownership
- We maintain the only register of ownership in Guernsey with records dating back to 1912.
- Since the formation of the Guernsey Cadastre in 1910, we have kept a register of property ownership consisting of record ledgers and advocate's notification letters and, although many records were damaged or destroyed during the German occupation of the Channel Islands, the Cadastre Register is still the only one of its type in Guernsey.
- In 2007, we began a project to digitally scan our paper records and link the images to our database records. This was completed in 2010 and the Register now serves as a live digital database, supporting numerous States departments, Parish Constables, Guernsey Water and a user base of online subscribers.
- Cadastre Online is a subscriber only service supported by Digimap Limited and allows authorised users to access the Cadastre land and property records and view digital images of property conveyance documents (or property "deeds") and property plans registered at H.M. Greffe. For further information on how to apply for authorised access to the online service please contact us.
Building Permit Tracker
- New and existing building permits are regularly monitored by Cadastre and we will periodically write to property owners to check on the status of approved building works. If you receive a building permit letter from us please either contact us or update your status online using Building Permit Status Tracker
- To view answers to our FAQs or for any queries relating to records of property ownership, TRP assessments or payments please follow this link. For queries relating to TRP appeals follow this link.
- For queries relating to Parochial occupier's and refuse rates please refer to the office of the appropriate Parish Constable. A list of Parish Contacts can be viewed here.