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Landlord Licensing Scheme Rejected

The States Assembly has again turned its back on plans to licence landlords in Jersey.

The Environment Minister put forward the proposals - he said that adopting this scheme would let the government gather data on what properties are being rented out, to who and where - along with how suitable they are - to make sure they meet minimum standards.

The Minister said it would mean more accurate risk assessments to prioritise and target inspections.

"We (States members) are collectively in a privileged position and those of us that are landlords, the majority of us, have that duty to ensure that the premises that we let out to people as their homes where they live and bring children up are safe."

Licences would have been given out online and cost £100 for two years. Existing landlords wouldn't have had to pay any fee before 1 November 2022 if they applied during the 'grandfathering period' of six months.

The scheme was originally put forward in February - but was called back because of concerns that it would lead to higher rents.

The Jersey Landlords Association has been a vocal critic of the scheme throughout and sent an email to members before the debate -  to say it disagreed with 'using taxpayers money to inspect thousands of properties to find the handful of bad ones.'

They proposed instead that tenants should be encouraged to enforce their rights - which could include drafting better leases and forming a Jersey Tenants Association.

Several States members criticised the scheme during the debate - including the chair of the Scrutiny panel investigating the proposals.

Deputy Rowland Huelin says it will alienate landlords when we need homes, while Constable Mike Jackson called for a Scrutiny review.

He said he couldn't condone a proposition that's seriously biased against landlords.

"I would earnestly suggest that he (Deputy Young) needs to listen to them (landlords).

"He needs to provide a reasonable framework within which they can operate their private rental business so they are enabled to add and invest in the confidence of the rental market.

"The Minister seems not to have taken a blind bit of notice of the landlords' considered views."

Despite Deputy Young hitting back at the Constable by calling his claim 'unjustifiable', States members voted against the proposition by 24 votes to 20.

The Chief Minister didn't participate in the debate and was the only member not to vote either way because of his involvement with the Les Vaux Housing Trust.

A Facebook group set up to promote the views of people living in rented homes across Jersey backed the proposal and criticised States members who called it costly and intrusive.

The first day of debate on the Licensing of Landlords: Arguments against the licensing are that it will be costly and...

Posted by Jersey Tenants Forum on Tuesday, 8 September 2020

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