Alderney repeals law stopping foreigners buying property

A LAW preventing foreign nationals from buying property on Alderney without special permission has been repealed amid warnings it could have disrupted trade if there were to be a no-deal Brexit.

Alderney Policy & Finance Committee chairman James Dent. (Picture by David Nash, 29045585)
Alderney Policy & Finance Committee chairman James Dent. (Picture by David Nash, 29045585)

The 1906 law would have left the island in a position of potentially discriminating on grounds of nationality.

This could have excluded Alderney from World Trade Organization agreements, leaving it unable to trade, even potentially with the other Channel Islands, without having complex import and export tariffs.

Alderney’s Policy & Finance Committee used special powers introduced across the Bailiwick to deal with any urgent legislative issues relating to Brexit.

Some politicians wanted the matter debated at a full States meeting, which would have delayed repeal until January or later.

Chairman James Dent settled the issue with his casting vote.

The original law required certain procedures to be met before anyone other than British nationals or some Commonwealth nationals could buy property in Alderney.

In 1973, when the UK had joined the EEC, the law had been amended to allow EEC (now EU) citizens the same status as British nationals.

These procedures involved a declaration to the Greffier in Alderney who would prepare a request to the Court of Alderney with any decision being approved by the Lt-Governor before returning to the court.

Mr Dent said: ‘This archaic law is protecting us from no one.

‘If the law achieves anything it is to frustrate the ambitions of high-net-worth individuals who might lawfully want to settle here and it also causes inheritance problems for those of us who might want to pass our properties on to persons who are not subjects of Her Majesty.’

The committee had previously agreed that the law should be repealed following advice that after the end of the Brexit transition period it would be unwise for Alderney to be discriminating on grounds of nationality.

Safeguards remain in that background checks on those wanting to buy property in Alderney can, if necessary, be made including scrutiny within the financial sector concerning money laundering.

The rules on employment permits have been tightened and will apply to all nationalities.

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