Guernsey Press

History made as part of Sark tenement sold

THE sale of part of a Sark tenement made history on Friday.

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A historic handshake in Sark’s Seneschal’s Court between Edric Baker, left, who became the first person to sell part of a Sark tenement to his tenant, Marcus Barker.

A recent change in the island’s property laws now allows the 40 tenements to be subdivided into smaller parcels, which can then be sold and mortgaged.

Though the law has been in force since 1 February, due to Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown in Sark, the first-of-its-kind conveyance was presented and registered just over a month later when the Court of the Seneschal of Sark was able to reopen for proceedings.

Edric Baker sold Le Dos d’Ane Cottage and land, which forms part of Le Dos d’Ane tenement, to Marcus Barker, who has been a tenant in the property since late last year.

‘We have been watching the situation regarding land reform on Sark for a very long time,’ Mr Barker said.

‘The options were so very limited indeed to purchase a freehold/tenement on Sark due to the fact there are so very few of them.

‘Now land reform has been approved, this has changed the landscape of actually owning your own home outright. We are so very pleased to own our own home on Sark and feel privileged to be the first in Sark’s history to complete on such a transaction.

‘Collas Crill made the process simple and stress-free. Additionally we owe a big thanks to Edric Baker, the tenement owner, who conducted himself as the ever gentleman that he is.’

Collas Crill partner Jason Green managed the conveyance.

‘It has been an absolute pleasure to manage this special and ground-breaking transaction, supporting Marcus to realise his dream and working with Edric and his wife, Diane, who assisted us greatly in completing the lease and the subsequent conveyance,’ he said.

‘Subdividing the land has meant attending on site, drafting new boundaries with the aid of plans, drafting new rights and reservations and thinking about services – all things we do commonly in Guernsey and Alderney, but never before in Sark. The conveyance was required to be registered with plans as the law so requires.’

He welcomed the change, saying it would give would-be landowners many more options in terms of ownership and would make the acquisition of Sark property much more accessible.

The status quo of land ownership in Sark has been in place for about 400 years and is an enduring example of feudal law on the island.

Sarkees can now negotiate a purchase of the freehold title to their current leasehold property to secure their position.