The "Loi (1991) sur la copropriété des immeubles bâtis", also known as the "Flying Freehold Law" (the "Law"), was enacted to enable units (usually apartments) within buildings to be sold on a freehold basis instead of by share transfer. We will assume for the purpose of this briefing that we are dealing with an apartment.
The Law provides for the division of a property (the "Collective Property") into Private Units and Common Parts.Ownership of a Private Unit (an owner in this case being known as a "co-owner") grants outright freehold title to an apartment (and, where relevant, of any garden, patio, parking space or store).
A co-owner is also allocated a percentage interest in the Common Parts (i.e. the structure of the building, shared accesssways and commonly used facilities) and is required to contribute towards their maintenance and upkeep.
Regulations governing each co-owner's rights and responsibilities are set out in a declaration of co-ownership ("the Declaration") which is registered prior to the first sale. Each co-owner is a member of an Association of co-owners, which is responsible for the management and administration of the Collective Property.
Each co-owner shares responsibility with the other co-owners for structural and external works to the Common Parts. Associations levy a service charge (usually monthly or quarterly) to cover shared expenses such as insurance, cleaning, lighting and repairs.
The purchase procedure is similar to that for a freehold property. A contract of purchase must be passed before the Royal Court on a Friday and stamp duty is payable by the Buyer.
Under the new Migration Law those with full residential qualifications will no longer need to apply for consent to transact. Until it comes into force applications will still need to be submitted to the Population Office and are usually dealt with by the estate agent.