Jersey’s residential landlords do not know what is about to hit them.
A new law impacting Jersey landlords is due to be debated in the States on 21 January 2020. If passed, it will mean that every rented dwelling in Jersey will have to be licensed and appear on a new public register. They will also be subject to a new inspection regime.
Landlords will have to pay a compulsory licence fee of up to £200 per year per unit to let out a property (plus an initial application fee of £50 per unit). These costs are likely to rise in coming years. All such increased costs will be inflationary as they will inevitably be passed onto tenants. Rents can also be expected to rise further, as more landlords leave the rented dwelling industry.
The Minister of the Environment argues that rented accommodation in Jersey is generally poor. He has provided no statistical proof (apart from minimal anecdotal evidence) to show that this is a widespread issue. He also says that Government does not know where rented properties are located.
In fact Jersey already has modern laws, passed only in the last couple of years, which protect tenants from living in accommodation of a poor standard. They give Environmental Health officers the right to inspect properties (whether a complaint is received or not) and to prosecute unscrupulous landlords.
In practice, Government already knows, through returns to the Population Office and to the Parish rates assessors, where rented property is located. These statistics are just inadequately collated.
This proposed new fee-paying licensing system will mean a substantial windfall for the Environment Department, but the Minister has not explained how this additional annual revenue will be spent.
It is anticipated that this new scheme will impose unnecessary bureaucracy, will inconvenience tenants and will lead to a substantial increase in the number of civil servants required to support it.
The needless annual inspection of rented dwellings, a large majority of which already meet modern standards, would not only be a waste of time and resources but would do little to increase the quality or affordability of Jersey’s rental sector. Government should just enforce the existing law, policing it solely in response to a written complaint from a tenant.
For these and other reasons, the JLA opposes the proposed regulations and will shortly put the views of its members to the Scrutiny Panel reviewing the new law. For the Scrutiny Panel’s own summary of this legislation, go to: https://statesassembly.gov.je/
For the report and proposed new regulations, go to:
Any Landlord who wants to make his or her voice heard, regarding this new law, can:
By email to: Nikita Hall, using email address: firstname.lastname@example.org OR
Mailedto: Nikita Hall or Connetable M Jackson, Environment, Housing and
Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel, Morier House, St Helier, JE1 1DD
Nikita Hall can also be contacted by anyone who needs more information or cannot submit their views to the panel by Thursday 21 November. Her direct line is 441027.
The Jersey Landlords Association is the leading voice for Jersey landlords. We educate our members about their rights and duties and campaign on issues such as deposits protection, fire certification, landlord licensing, accommodating children, tenant delinquency, etc.
ENDS (596 words) Robert Weston, Hon President, Jersey Landlords Association tel: 766366 email: RLW@welcome.je
For more information, please contact: