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JLA covering email ref the imminent debate on licensing Jersey’s Rented Dwellings

15th November 2019

Please find a press release prepared by the Jersey Landlords Association, relating to a new proposal by the Minister of Planning & Environment to register, licence and inspect every privately rented dwelling in the Island.  The proposal is effectively a massive exercise in red tape which adds nothing to the existing powers of the Minister and other States departments to ensure the basic health and safety standards of rented accommodation in Jersey.

All the information, which might be obtained by registration, licensing and annual inspection of many thousands of rented dwelling units in Jersey, is already available to Jersey authorities under existing and recently implemented legislation.

Although the latest new proposals, for registration, licensing and annual inspection, will probably be cost neutral to the States’ Departments, this is only because landlords will be required to pay one million pounds or more in licence fees.  States‑employed manpower will, nevertheless, increase by around 10 individuals, without whom it would be impossible to register and inspect so much property annually.

These fees are effectively a stealth tax, which will inevitably be passed on to tenants, in the form of increased rents.  The cost of rented housing, which is already quite high, due to the general scarcity of rented accommodation in the Island, will rise even further.

There will also be an increasing exit of investors from the private letting industry.  These property owners, who have already had to endure more than enough costly, inefficient and unnecessary legislation and red tape during the past seven years, are already offering their properties for sale.  Government does not seem to realise that the loss of more landlord investors will also push up the cost of privately rented homes in Jersey and eventually require Government to fund the cost of meeting its legal obligation to house the Island’s population.

This new proposition (P106/2019) first came before the States last Tuesday (12 November) and was promptly called into the Environment, Housing & Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel before it is debated in the States on 21 January 2020.

Consequent upon the Scrutiny Panel’s request last Tuesday, the JLA and all private dwelling landlords have been invited to submit their views to the panel.  Regrettably, the timetable imposed, for doing so, was exceptionally short as any submissions had to be received by the Scrutiny Panel by Monday 18 November (ie within 6 days).  However, at the JLA’s request, this timetable has been extended by three days and will expire at noon on Thursday 21 November.

Whilst many private landlords may wish to have their voices heard, thousands of them are blissfully unaware of the proposed new licensing regulations and of the invitation to write in objecting to them.  The JLA would greatly appreciate help from the media in drawing the attention of all owners, of privately rented dwelling property, to this extremely brief opportunity to be heard on this issue.

Otherwise, the potential damage to Jersey’s economy could be severe.

Sincerely

Robert Weston

Hon President, Jersey Landlords Association

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