A 51-year-old Jersey Homes Trust tenant has said he "might have to sell" his car after being told his rent would be going up 9% with just three weeks' notice.
The Jersey Homes Trust – which owns and manages 839 homes across 24 estates – recently began contacting tenants to inform them of the increase, which is below inflation at 12.7%.
The Trust's Chair, Philip Le Cornu, explained that the housing provider, which froze rents due to covid in 2020 and 2021, receives "no government funding, and ongoing refurbishment and upgrades of our properties are funded through rental income."
Reform Jersey said news of the rises in a short time period during a cost-of-living crisis had come as a "shock" to many of its constituents, who had appealed to the party for help.
"As an accredited social-housing provider, the Jersey Homes Trust is obligated to meet high standards of care for its tenants, and the government has a special interest in working with the trust to help safeguard the wellbeing of the hundreds of Islanders who live in JHT properties.
"We are disappointed that more notice was not provided to tenants of this rent increase and, given how substantial it is, that no work appears to have been done with the Housing Advice Service to communicate with tenants about what rights they have, including what potential entitlement they may have for financial support through Income Support."
Among those to have been affected was Richard Hardy (51), who said that he "might have to sell [his] car", which he bought only last year, as the "astronomical" increase would see his rent go up by £116 per month.
Another resident, mother-of-two Sonja Meacock, said: "I'm not sure what to do. I can't afford to stay in Jersey and I can't afford to leave."
She added that she wasn't alone in this: "There are a lot of people who are not sure where they are going to get the extra money from."
Reform Jersey has written to the Ministers for Housing and Social Security to urge them to take action, and has also requested a meeting with Jersey Homes Trust representatives to discuss a way forward.
Our members are currently supporting Jersey Homes Trust tenants who are facing large rent increases with just 3 weeks notice. This has been handled in an unacceptable way and we urge the government to intervene.— Reform Jersey (@ReformJersey) March 13, 2023
We must introduce rent control to help fix our broken rental market pic.twitter.com/DTOMqUSFZO
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