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Open Market housing

Contact Us - Housing Control

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  • What is the Open Market

    • Because of the Island's small size, there are controls on who can come to live and work in Guernsey, which are in addition to the immigration controls of the Guernsey Border Agency.
    • The Housing Control Law divides Guernsey's housing stock into two tiers, known as the Local and Open Market. The Law controls who can live in all Local Market housing and it also controls who can live in some types of Open Market housing.
    • There are about 1,700 Open Market properties in Guernsey and they are all listed in the Open Market Housing Register.  Not all of these properties are private houses.  How an Open Market property is used on a day-to-day basis will determine what Part of the Housing Register it is listed in.  The controls on who can occupy Open Market properties are also determined by what Part of the Housing Register it is listed in - please see the 'Occupying an Open Market Part...' section below.
    • The Housing Register is now closed, so it is not possible for any more properties to be added to the Register.
    • Because the controls on who can live in Open Market housing are much more relaxed than for Local Market housing, Open Market housing is more expensive than Local Market housing.
    • Adults who come to Guernsey to live in Open Market housing will not normally become Qualified Residents. This means that once you live in Open Market housing you will always have to live in Open Market housing if you want to stay in Guernsey.  For this reason it is important to think carefully about the cost of living in Open Market housing before making a decision to move to Guernsey to live in this type of housing.
    • There are very few situations where an adult living in Open Market housing can move into Local Market housing.  An example of where a move would be possible is if an Open Market resident marries a Qualified Resident.
    • Children who move into Open Market housing with their parents might become Qualified Residents in the future.
  • The Open Market Housing Register

    • You can search the Open Market Housing Register online - www.openmarkethousingregister - if you know the details of the property that you want to check.
    • The search will tell you which Part of the Housing Register the property is listed on.  For larger estates, the search will also tell you if other buildings within the estate are also listed in the Housing Register as part of its inscription.
    • A paper Housing Register is kept at Housing Control at Sir Charles Frossard House.  You can ask to view the paper copy of the Housing Register at any time during normal office hours.
  • The four parts of the Open Market Housing Register

    • There are about 1,700 properties listed in the Housing Register, which is split into four 'Parts'.
    • It is important to note that the Housing Control Law controls who can live some types of Open Market housing - please see the 'Occupying an Open Market Part...' section below.
    • Part A                 Private Houses and Apartments               If an Open Market property is lived in as a family home it will be listed in Part A of the Housing Register.
      Part BHotelsIf an Open Market property is operating as a hotel and has been issued with a boarding permit it will be listed in Part B of the Housing Register.
      Part CNursing and Residential HomesIf an Open Market property is operating as a nursing or residential home it will be listed in Part C of the Housing Register.

      It is important to note that not all of Guernsey's nursing or residential homes are Open Market.
      Part DLodging House If an Open Market property is used as a lodging house it will be moved to Part D of the Housing Register.  A property will be treated as a lodging house if there are people living in the property who are not part of the same family and who are each renting space within the property to live in.
  • Buying an Open Market Property

    • Some of the Island's estate agents specialise in Open Market property sales and rentals.  They will be able to advise you about the current availability and cost of Open Market housing.
    • The Open Market status of a property is at risk if the property is altered or if it is used for a different purpose.  We advise you to ask for the property to be inspected by Housing Control before you make a firm commitment to buy it so that you can be sure of its status as Open Market housing.  If the inspection confirms that the property is still eligible to be listed in the Housing Register, Housing Control will give you a 'Declaration of Registration' to show this.
    • The law firm acting for you when you buy the property will normally arrange this inspection for you.  You can request an Open Market inspection, but please note that the property can only be inspected with the consent of the current owner.  There is a charge for processing this request.
    • If you become the owner of an Open Market property, there is a legal requirement to tell Housing Control within 28 days.  The law firm acting for you when you buy the property will normally arrange this, but as the new owner it is your responsibility to check that this has been done.
    • If you are thinking of buying an Open Market property, you should also read Information for Open Market Owners.
    • What if there is a problem with the dwelling when it is inspected?
    • If there are any problems with the dwelling that might affect its inscription in the Housing Register, these will be discussed and the owner would normally be given the opportunity to rectify the problem before a second inspection is carried out.  If, after the second inspection has taken place, there are still problems, the dwelling might have to be moved from one part of the Housing Register to another, or it might have to be removed from the Housing Register altogether.
  • General Information for Open Market owners

    • Owners of Open Market properties have responsibilities under the Housing Control Law.  If you are an Open Market owner it is important that you understand these responsibilities because if you don't comply, the Open Market status of your property can be affected.
    • Alterations
    • Any person who makes alterations to an Open Market dwelling without giving prior notice to Housing Control is committing an offence and, if convicted, might have to pay a fine.
    • If you are not sure whether the dwelling that you are altering is inscribed in the Open Market Housing Register, you can search the Register to find out.
    • The above requirements are set out in sections 31 and 36 of The Housing (Control of Occupation) (Guernsey) Law, 1994.
    • Please note that you still need to ensure that the changes comply with planning and building requirements.
    • If you are thinking about altering any Open Market property, you can contact Housing Control for advice.
    • Sub-dividing an Open Market property
    • If an Open Market property is altered (either physically or by the way it is used) so that it becomes more than one dwelling, Housing Control is required by Law to take the whole property off the Housing Register.  It might be possible for part of the sub-divided property to go back on the Housing Register, but you would need to contact Housing Control to find out more about this.
    • Combining an Open Market property
    • If you own an Open Market property and you combine it (either physically or by the way it is used) with a Local Market property so that they are used as a single dwelling, Housing Control is required by Law to take the whole property off the Housing Register.  Once the property has been taken off the Housing Register, it cannot go back on it.
    • Do you know who is living in your Open Market property?
    • Owners of an Open Market property need to make sure that people living in it are living lawfully.  It is an offence to let someone live in your property if they are not complying with the Housing Control Law.  Please see the information below on who can live in the different types of Open Market housing.
  • Occupying Open Market Part A - Private Houses and Apartments

    • Owner or Tenant's Family
    • The family living in an Open Market Part A property, whether they own it or rent if from the owner, will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law. This means that they will be able to live in the property for any length of time and will be able to do any job in the Island.  But they will still need to have a Right to Work document to prove to an employer that they are lawfully housed.  This type of Right to Work document is called a 'Declaration of Lawful Residence'.
    • Live-in, full-time domestic staff
    • If a family living in a large Open Market Part A property employ full-time domestic staff who also live in the Part A property, those staff will be able to live and work in the property for any length of time, but they will still need to have a Right to Work document.
    • If you are living and working as full-time domestic staff in an Open Market Part A family home, you can apply for a Right to Work document (a 'Declaration of Lawful Residence'). There is a charge for processing this type of application.
  • Occupying Open Market Part B - Hotels

    • Tourists
    • If you are planning to stay in an Open Market Part B hotel as a tourist, you can stay in the hotel for up to 90 days in any 12 months.  If you are thinking of staying for longer, you will need to contact Housing Control for advice.
    • Visiting Guernsey in connection with work
    • If you are planning to stay in a hotel whilst visiting Guernsey in connection with your work, you can stay in a hotel for 10 days in any 30 days, but only up to a maximum of 90 days in any 12 months.  If you think your stays might go over these limits, you will need to contact Housing Control for advice.
    • Owner or Principal Tenant or the full-time manager of the Hotel
    • The owner of the hotel, or the principal tenant of the whole hotel or the full-time manager of the hotel, can live in the hotel for any length of time.  They can also house their family (their lawful spouse, children, grandchildren, parents and parents-in-law) with them as 'members of the household'.  These people will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law.  This means that the family will be able to live in the property for any length of time and, except for the full-time manager of the hotel, they will be able to do any job in the Island but will require a Right to Work document.
    • If you are living in an Open Market Part B hotel as the owner, principal tenant, or as full-time staff, you can apply for a Right to Work document (a Declaration of Lawful Residence). There is a charge for processing this type of application.
    • If you are living in an Open Market Part B hotel as the lawful spouse; child; grandchild; parent; or parent-in-law of the owner, principal tenant or full-time manger of the hotel, you can apply for a Right to Work document.
    • Live-in, Full-Time Staff
    • Full-time staff working for the hotel and living in staff accommodation at the hotel will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law.  This means that for so long as they remain living and working full-time at the hotel they will be able to stay in Guernsey.
  • Occupying Open Market Part C - Nursing and Residential Homes

    • Residents or potential resident of the Nursing or Residential Home
    • All residents of Open Market nursing and residential homes are controlled by the Housing Control Law. This means that if a person is not a Qualified Resident they will need a housing licence to live as a resident in a nursing or residential home - even if the home is Open Market. Individuals are therefore strongly advised to contact Housing Control for advice if they are thinking about moving into a nursing or residential home.
    • Owner or Principal Tenant or the full-time manager of the Nursing or Residential Home 
    • The owner of the Open Market Part C nursing or residential home, or the principal tenant of the home or the full-time manager of the home can live in the home for any length of time.  They can also house their family (their lawful spouse, children, grandchildren, parents and parents-in-law) with them as 'members of the household'.  These people will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law.  This means that the family will be able to live in the property for any length of time and, except for the full-time manager of the home, they will be able to do any job in the Island.  But they will still need to have a Right to Work document to prove to an employer that they are lawfully housed.  This type of Right to Work document is called a Declaration of Lawful Residence.
    • If you are living in an Open Market Part C nursing or residential home as the owner, principal tenant, or as full-time staff, you can apply for a Right to Work document (a Declaration of Lawful Residence). There is a charge for processing this type of application.
    • Live-in, Full-Time Staff
    • Full-time staff working for the home and living in staff accommodation at the home will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law.  This means that for so long as they remain living and working full-time at the home they will be able to stay in Guernsey.
  • Occupying Open Market Part D - Lodging Houses

    • Owner of the lodging house
    • The owner of the lodging house can live in it for any length of time. They can also house their family (their lawful spouse, children, grandchildren, parents and parents-in-law) with them as 'members of the household'.  These people will not be 'controlled' by the Housing Control Law. This means that the family will be able to live in the property for any length of time and they will be able to do any job in the Island.  But they will still need to have a Right to Work document to prove to an employer that they are lawfully housed. This type of Right to Work document is called a Declaration of Lawful Residence.
    • If you are living in an Open Market Part D lodging house as the owner, you can apply for a Right to Work document (a Declaration of Lawful Residence).
    • If you are living in an Open Market Part D lodging house as part of the family of the owner, you can apply for a Right to Work document (a Declaration of Lawful Residence).
    • Lodgers
    • All other people living in a lodging house are controlled by the Housing Control Law.  This means that if a person is not a Qualified Resident they will need a housing licence to live in a lodging house - even if the lodging house is Open Market.
  • Children of Open Market Residents

    • If a person under the age of 18 comes to live in Open Market housing in Guernsey with their parents, that person (but not their parents) could become a Qualified Resident. But they would not become a Qualified Resident until they had lived lawfully in Guernsey for 20 years in any 30 years.  So, they would need to live in Open Market housing for 20 years.
    • There are very few situations where a person who came to live in Open Market housing as a child can move into Local Market housing before they become a Qualified Resident.  An example of where a move would be possible is if an Open Market resident marries a Qualified Resident.
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