Housing Minister unveils his plan for tenancy law update

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PLANS to update Jersey’s Residential Tenancy Law have been unveiled by the Housing Minister, with Islanders – and States Members – invited to put forward their views.

Deputy David Warr said the main aim of the move was to provide more rights and protections for tenants and landlords in a ‘broadened and improved’ law.

Deputy Warr said his approach detailed how the scope of the legislation would be broadened and improved, including:

lIntroducing open-ended tenancies to offer more security of tenure and protection against so-called ‘revenge evictions’.

lIncreasing minimum notice periods for tenancies.

lLimiting the amount and frequency of rent increases during tenancies.

lEstablishing a new housing tribunal to consider a ‘wide range’ of residential tenancy issues.

lFormalising requirements for social-housing provision.

The matter could be the subject of multiple debates in the States Assembly in early May, while an eight-week public consultation has also been launched.

Publication of Deputy Warr’s paper on the subject came three days after a former Housing Minister – Deputy Sam Mézec – issued his own proposition to shake up the law.

The ‘twin-track’ approach involving both the current minister and a former incumbent is due to leave States Members facing an in-committee debate on Deputy Warr’s plans at their sitting on 2 May – the same meeting at which Deputy Mézec’s proposition is due to be debated.

Writing on social media yesterday, Deputy Mézec said the government paper on the subject ‘vindicates most of the policies I have proposed’ and provided ‘good grounds’ for members of the government to support his proposition.

Deputy Warr said: ‘In my ministerial plan, I made a commitment to bring forward proposals that will improve residential tenancy issues in Jersey.

‘Planning is already under way, with law drafting instructions in place, which I will consider updating after I have heard people’s views. I want to see comprehensive improvements to the level of protection afforded to both tenants and landlords, and I’m pleased to be able to now share details on how I propose to take this forward.’

Islanders have until 9 June to give their views, which can be submitted at gov.je/consultations.

The minister added: ‘I am determined that this [consultation] will not delay the delivery of this vitally important new legislation.’

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