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Bid to tackle "unsafe and squalid" rental accommodation

Bid to tackle

Tuesday 06 June 2023

Bid to tackle "unsafe and squalid" rental accommodation

Tuesday 06 June 2023

Proposals for a licensing scheme to regulate rental properties have been lodged by the Environment Minister in a bid to address "unsafe and squalid" accommodation in the island.

If adopted, the regulations being brought forward by Deputy Jonathan Renouf would make it a requirement for rented dwellings to be licensed under a scheme that would come into force on 1 January 2024.

Deputy Renouf signalled his intention to put forward the proposals in November, citing a "a significant problem with unsafe and squalid private rented dwellings in Jersey". 

Under the draft plans, all properties that fall within the category of "rented dwelling" set out in the island's existing legislation would require a licence, with the exception of those that have an active registration under the Lodging Houses (Registration) (Jersey) Law 1962.

This would mean each individual unit in a block of flats or apartment block would require a licence, as would social housing providers, including Andium Homes. 

It would become an offence to allow a property to be used as a rented dwelling unless it had a valid licence.


Pictured: Deputy Renouf said that the power to withdraw a licence provided a "powerful incentive" for landlords to comply with the standards.

In the report accompanying his plans, Deputy Renouf said: "While minimum standards are already a legal requirement, the Infrastructure and Environment Department, which is responsible for enforcement, continues to identify rented dwellings that are in a state of non-compliance.

"The regulations would provide Environmental and Consumer Protection Officers in the Housing and Nuisance Team with a complete data set of rented dwellings. Using this, officers would be able to carry out proactive, targeted, risk-based inspections and have much easier access to details of the landlords for each property should it be necessary to contact them."

He continued: "There would also be random inspections, so that landlords will not know whether or not an inspection was the result of a complaint or just random selection. This will act as a safeguard to reduce the risk of so called 'revenge evictions' and therefore should encourage tenants to come forward and report their concerns."

The scheme would involve a £60 fee for a two-year licence pertaining to the dwelling, meaning that if the property changed hands during the two-year period it would not require another license payment.

Jonathan Renouf.jpg

Pictured: Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf said that the regulations would also allow for "random inspections" to make sure properties were compliant.

Deputy Renouf concluded: "There have been comments such as ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, but we do have a significant issue with sub-standard rental accommodation, and people are suffering because of it.

"Those behaving badly give landlords who meet and exceed the required standards a bad name. The scheme does place additional requirements on landlords at the outset, but thereafter the burden should be limited."

He added that the "huge additional advantage" of a licensing scheme was that the power to withdraw a licence provided a "powerful incentive" for landlords to comply with the standards.

"The aim is to deal with the worst offenders," said Deputy Renouf. "Minimal cost is involved and this has to be balanced against the wider cost to individuals, families – particularly children – and society if people suffer ill-health through sub-standard accommodation. The reward is for society as a whole."

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Posted by Bob Wareing-Jones on
All businesses require a form of licensing and registration for example Cafe’s, Pubs, Finance and so on. Let’s not be under any illusion, property investment is in itself, a business, and it makes sense to ensure anyone in business should be liable for making sure, that what the business offers and provides, is provided in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulation. We must also consider the huge risks associated with poor quality accommodation from a Public Health perspective . That’s why Environmental Health Officers use the Housing, Health & Safety Rating System now long established, as the benchmark when carrying out inspections. The sad story only very recently, of the death of a child exposed to damp and mould spores, should be enough to convince the government of Jersey of its moral obligation to govern for the common good for all its citizens. We cannot allow vested interests, added administration or so called ‘additional costs’ to inform what we mean by Good Laws and Fair Regulations. It is the first duty of Government to protect all its citizens. For far too long this DUTY has been ignored.
Posted by john garner on
In isolation could be the right thing to do ..Or does yet another layer of government control eventually break the camels back and small landlords just walk away from more hassle .I know one thing that it wont increase the number of units
Posted by Arthur Illingworth on
What provisions are being made to protect landlords from rouge tenants. The last inspection I had the inspector said ‘I don’t care how they live it’s how you treat them’. We have had doors demolished, rooms trashed, fires, even life threats, we had armed police knocking on the door to drunken people sleeping in the hallways using the, as toilets So how about a scheme to keep us safe such as being able to have background checks on potential tenants. Photos and videos available.
Posted by MarkSmith67 on
Another great state scam to steal even more money from people. So clearly all this is going to do is put up rents to cover the registration fee plus some, the state makes money for nothing which it the real plan and any property which does not pass will be taken off the rental list. Great plane!
Posted by Michael Van Neste on
Yet more bureaucracy that will drive down supply. If there were sufficient supply landlords would compete to offer excellent facilities at competitive rates. The lack of supply is a failure of government. So what do they do about it? They try to control it through legislation and bureaucracy. Doomed to failure. If you are young and you have aspirations, you will choose to leave this sorry Island for a better life.
Posted by Isabel Jeune on
This is all a direct result of uncontrolled immigration.
Posted by Scott Mills on
should have a star system for landlords and landlords being able to rate tenants. That's fair system, but nothing is that in Jersey.... lovely beaches.
Posted by Jon Jon on
All this will do is push up rents further! Those landlords with single units will just get out of leasing.Random checks made? What happens if the tenant moved into a good property then doesn’t look after it,remove smoke alarms,it’s not landlords responsibility to see how they live,yet it will be landlord clobbered for it.As someone already put there needs to be more help for landlords with tenants who don’t look after the property.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Whilst rental properties should be of a good standard, it is also up to the tenant to keep it so. Far too many properties are rented by people that never open windows to get good fresh air circulation, use mobile gas heaters, and generally allow standards to fall.
What's good for one, should be good for the other.
Posted by Carol Bertram on
Our ministers have proven time and again they are incapable of organising a soirée in a vineyard and these scattergun proposals if approved will be a bureaucratic nightmare to administer. Why adopt this caveman approach and club every landlord over the head? Would it not be much simpler and more cost effective to just deal with the Rigsbys?
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