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Recruitment underway to provide “greater balance” on rent panel

Recruitment underway to provide “greater balance” on rent panel

Wednesday 07 September 2022

Recruitment underway to provide “greater balance” on rent panel

Wednesday 07 September 2022


Another member is being sought to join the Rent Control Tribunal following claims that the Housing Minister had “chosen to stack it full of landlords.”

Deputy David Warr signed off on the job advert seeking to provide a “greater balance of perspectives” last week, after attracting criticism when he shared his proposed slate of islanders to make up the panel tasked with hearing tenants’ appeals against rent rises.

The group was largely made up of finance professionals and landlords, and included Guy Morris, Chair of the more than 200-member-strong Jersey Landlords Association.

Reform Jersey leader Deputy Sam Mézec blasted the proposed membership as a "serious error of judgement" and called on Deputy Warr to reconsider the "inadequate" line-up as he claimed it created a perception tenants may not be treated fairly.

Party member Deputy Geoff Southern subsequently put forward a proposal to change the 1946 law underpinning the tribunal which he says would introduce further "balance". If approved by States Members this month, it would see the panel made up of: one Chair, one member to represent landlords, one to represent tenants, one to represent Andium Homes as the largest social housing provider, and one person from the charitable sector "with an understanding of homeless/consumer issues."

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Pictured: Reform Jersey's Deputy Geoff Southern has put forward a proposal to change the composition of the Rent Control Tribunal.

In a report accompanying his own amendment published yesterday, The Housing Minister responded with support for the move, though he argued Deputy Southern's proposal required "minor" tweaks, such as removing Andium from the list of panel members.

"While I accept the need for a Chair and for the Tribunal to include landlord, tenant, and charitable sector representatives, Deputy Southern provides no justification for the inclusion of Andium on this body which will be dealing with private sector rentals. It is also important that the Tribunal has the necessary expertise to be able to make informed judgements as to the market value of a property. As such, I have allowed for the possibility of additional members to provide that expertise," Deputy Warr said.

Noting that the process to put together the current proposed panel membership was completed "before my appointment as Minister", he emphasised that he was already seeking to add a fifth member to the panel.

In order to "encourage additional applicants from as wide a background as possible", Deputy Warr added that the accompanying recruitment campaign "will draw attention to the availability of allowances to cover expenses such as childcare costs, to encourage additional applicants from as wide a background as possible."

Applications for the panel role will close at the end of the month, with shortlisted candidates due to be invited to an interview of "no more than 45 minutes".

"The Tribunal already has nominees with a mix of backgrounds, including the private landlord sector, banking, and finance, including a Chairman with experience of working on homelessness issues," the Gov.je job advert reads.

"Whilst we would expect the new Tribunal Member to have a reasonable understanding of property matters, we are keen to consider applicants who also have knowledge of consumer affairs or tenants' rights to provide an even greater balance of perspectives within the Tribunal.

"Knowledge of legal procedures or a general business or administrative background would also be advantageous."

It adds: "Applications are welcomed from across the whole of the Jersey community and under-represented groups. If you have a disability in relation to the role or the application process, please advise us and we will identify any reasonable adjustments that will enable you to perform on an equal footing."

The proposed Rent Control Tribunal panel:

Mr Simon Burgess (Chair)

"An independent strategic advisor, independent director, and property professional with over 30 years' experience. Previously as a partner in a City of London firm of Chartered Surveyors and latterly, as managing director of global financial services businesses specialising in real estate and private equity funds. Professionally qualified as a Chartered Surveyor (MRICS), Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb) and holding a real estate Degree in Valuation and Estate Development (BSc, Distinction). Also, a Chartered Director (CDir) and Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIOD), holding a Diploma in Company Direction (DipIOD). Independent Chair of the Jersey Homelessness Strategic board and member of the Jersey Strategic Housing Partnership Board."

Mr Ian Gray (Member)

"The Finance Director of Seymour's Ltd where part of the role involves dealing with a wide range of general property matters as well as landlord and tenant issues. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Is a Non-Executive Director of Visit Jersey and the Chair of its Audit Committee. Also serves on the Board of the Jersey Hospitality Association."

Mr Guy Morris (Member)

"Qualified as an English Solicitor in 2004 and admitted as a Jersey Advocate in 2017, but no longer practising. Worked for 16 years as a corporate, fund and banking lawyer (with expertise in real estate structures) in the Jersey office of a leading international law firm. A professional landlord since 2016 and recently elected the Chairman of the Jersey Landlords' Association after having served as an ordinary committee member since 2019."

Mr Neil Buesnel (Member)

"A recently retired senior private banker who worked for the leading global brand, UBS AG for 34 years, advising high net worth individuals and families on the full range of asset classes including real estate. A Chartered Associate of the London Institute of Banking and Finance and a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments. Has over 30 years' experience of managing private rental properties in Jersey."

Descriptions have been taken from the Housing Minister's report on the proposed appointments, which you can read in full here.

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Posted by Dave Mathews on
When I first saw the make up of this panel I gave up hope for anybody approaching it about their rent. Until this Government shows a commitment away from vested interest it will only be seen as business as usual.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
When the new person is chosen for the panel, one would assume from someone who rents property, that should assist in getting a reasonable balance.
It must be remembered that Letting out properties, is a business for some and a pension for others.
Hence the true balanced panel must reflect this.
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