Ministers and landlords are opposing a Senator’s plan to get all those who rent property to others to sign up to a rating system.
Senator Kristina Moore’s bid to make the ‘Rent Safe’ scheme mandatory for landlords is due to be debated in the States Chamber next week.
The scheme, which outlines minimum accommodation standards for rental property such as the general state of repair and absence of damp, is currently voluntary.
Pictured: Senator Kristina Moore published a proposition to make the ‘Rent Safe’ scheme mandatory for landlords.
Over 2,000 units of accommodation are registered as ‘Rent Safe’ properties which have earned 3, 4 or 5 out of 5 stars under the criteria outlined by the scheme.
Shortly after Senator Moore’s proposals were released, the Jersey Landlord’s Association issued a statement arguing that enforcing the scheme would amount to “licensing by the back door” after previous attempts to regulate the rental market have been kicked out of the States Assembly.
The JLA claimed that the proposition if passed would “certainly entail increased bureaucracy”, as well as “a much-expanded Environmental Health department” and “cost for landlords, tenants and the Government of Jersey alike”.
“Once again, a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” the JLA added, noting that existing legislation “already provides mechanisms for rented properties which are in poor condition”.
Under Public Health and Safety (Rented Dwellings) (Jersey) Law 2018, notices may be issued to landlords requiring them to improve a property or to prohibit its occupancy.
Yesterday, Environment Minister Deputy John Young released comments agreeing with the JLA’s sentiments.
Pictured: The Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, rejected Senator Moore's Rent Safe proposal.
Deputy Young said that implementing the idea “could result in a suite of legislative changes that are, arguably, unnecessary, and highly complex”, which would “introduce a regulatory regime that would be overly burdensome”.
The report argued that the proposition is, “in essence, resurrecting the previous debates on licencing the sector, albeit in a more complicated manner” and that he did not wish to bind his successor to a plan that has “proven controversial”.
The Minister noted that “further analysis is required” to understand what financial resources and manpower would be needed to bring the plan into force, given that the proposition could “lead to an increase of circa 400% units being added to the Rent Safe scheme’s existing dataset.”
The JLA pointed to the “a simpler solution” of maintaining a register of properties, so that the “States will know which properties are rented”. “Coupling this with the JLA’s empowering tenants to complain will be the most cost effective and least intrusive way forward,” they concluded.
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