Landlords are pushing back on the Environment Minister's plan to start a licensing scheme to address the island's “significant problem with unsafe and squalid” rentals.
Announcing his plan to bring forward a proposal in the New Year just last month, Deputy Jonathan Renouf said that he had had “very reasonable and positive discussions” with the Jersey Landlords’ Association on the matter.
Now the JLA has come back with a formal response, arguing that creating a database of all landlords, without the full inspection regime that licensing would bring, would be just as effective, without the extra bureaucracy and cost.
Pictured: Deputy Renouf said he wanted to deal with "unsafe and squalid” rentals via a new scheme.
In a statement, it said: “While the JLA’s first two meetings with the Environment Minister were positive and reasonable, the JLA still believes that a rented dwelling registration scheme, coupled with a programme of tenant empowerment and randomised environmental health inspections, would do just as good a job of tackling poor-quality housing as a rented dwelling licence scheme.
“A registration scheme would also have the benefit of providing more data to Government about the type, size and quality of rented housing in Jersey.
“This could even be extended to all housing, giving the Government the data they need to make targeted policies and debate these in a sensible way."
It added: “In the JLA’s experience, all responsible landlords are already or are working towards offering rented dwellings at or above the minimum standards.
“Previous scrutiny panels and the previous States Assembly have agreed with many of our objections to licensing instead of registration.
“A number of details around the proposed licensing scheme remain unclear and we look forward to understanding these further. We remain open to further discussions with the Deputy Renouf.”
Pictured: Environment Minister Deputy Jonathan Renouf.
The previous Assembly debated several propositions relating to the regulation of private rented dwellings, including attempts to introduce a licensing regime.
The most recent proposition to introduce a scheme, in July 2021, was defeated by just a single vote.
Concerns over extra costs – including the possible introduction of a licence fee, which could be passed on to tenants – was one of the reasons why Members rejected past attempts to bring in the licensing of rented homes.
However, Deputy Renouf has said the charge to landlords would be in the region of £30 a year, and the team that would carry out inspections is already in place.
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