An end to ‘no fault’ evictions. A new Housing Tribunal. Rent control.
No, it’s not the Renters’ (Reform) Bill – Jersey’s Minister for Housing and Communities has launched a consultation on the future of renting on the largest of the Channel Islands.
As a self-governing British Crown Dependency, Jersey sets its own laws on housing – and at the moment, politicians are worried that they aren’t fit for purpose.
According to the consultation document, Jersey’s current Residential Tenancy Law doesn’t go far enough to protect tenants or landlords, and the legal frameworks around private renting need tightening up to make them fit for purpose.
One of the main tasks will be to set new standards for tenancy agreements. The government wants agents and landords to include a full listing of all charges and a complaints procedure.
Notice periods are also up for review. Currently, landlords can only end periodic tenancies for specific reasons, but fixed-term tenancies can be ended for any reason. Under the plan being consulted on, fixed-term tenancies would only be allowed in a few cases such as for temporary workers, while most tenants would have to be given an open-ended tenancy – effectively abolishing ‘no fault’ evictions in most cases. A Housing Tribunal would also be set up to process evictions and other housing-related cases more quickly.
Rent and fees are likely to be covered in depth. At the moment, landlords and agents can charge tenants unlimited fees for creating tenancies, providing documents and other tenancy-related tasks. Under the proposals, these fees would be reined in. Rent increases would also be limited to once a year and capped at the retail price index of inflation in most circumstances.
Politicians will also look into reforming the rules for lodgers. Currently, rental regulations in Jersey only apply to self-contained housing. Landlords can evict lodgers or increase rent without notice, are not required to provide tenancy agreements, and can even dispose of the tenant’s belongings.
A summary of the consultation’s findings will be published in the summer, and a refined draft law put forward for approval in Spring 2024.
Other national headlines
Scotland rent freeze: the loophole landlords are using – The Herald
Rent controls disrupt the supply of new rental homes – Property Industry Eye
Rent prices rise in ‘frenzied’ market due to shortfall of properties – Wales Online