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Reform Loses Rent Control Votes

Jersey's States have rejected Reform Jersey's rent control measures.

Among them, Deputy Sam Mézec had put forward a limiting landlords to no more than one rent rise a year.

He told the Assembly:

"I really will be surprised if members are prepared to put their name on record saying that they oppose that.  That would just be honestly bizarre."

The motion was defeated by 23 votes to 19.

Other proposals also thrown out were:

Requiring a minimum 3-month notice period before a rent review can be implemented - lost 25-17.

Capping the amount rent can be increased by  - lost 30-12.

Abolishing 'no fault evictions' by establishing default 'open-ended tenancies'  - lost 32-10

and demanding longer notice periods for tenants based on how long they have lived in a property - lost 26-16.

Deputy Mézec had urged support for his rent control measures, saying ' to do nothing means seeing a further decline in living standards for renters'.

The only element of his proposition that won enough support from States Members was setting up a Rent Tribunal to rule on disputes between tenants and landlords.  That was passed 22-20.

That's something the Housing Minister has previously put forward, then withdrew while he worked on an overhaul of the Residential Tenancy Law.

The creation of a 'Housing Tribunal' is included in his suggested reforms, with a broader remit than the Rent Control Tribunal.

 Deputy David Warr's proposed reforms are currently being discussed in an in-committee States debate.

That is where politicians can contribute their views, opinions and ideas, without a formal vote being taken at the end of the meeting.

Deputy Warr has said the in-committee debate on his white paper will contribute towards an ongoing consultation about the details of the proposed legislation.

The white paper proposes:

Open-ended tenancies to protect against revenge evictions and increasing the minimum notice period.

Only one rent increase per year, which cannot exceed RPI, subject to exceptions such as refurbishment.

Eight weeks notice before any rent increase.

The Minister aims to bring the new Residential Tenancy Law to the Assembly before the end of 2023.

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