1. ITV Report

Controversial licensing scheme for rental properties to be debated in Jersey

Landlords have called the proposals 'a massive exercise in red tape' which would ultimately hit tenants' pockets. Credit: ITV Channel TV

A controversial new licensing scheme for rented housing is due to be debated in Jersey States today.

The proposition was criticised by a Scrutiny Panel last week, and has prompted uproar amongst landlords who have called the proposals 'a massive exercise in red tape' which would ultimately hit tenants' pockets.

Proposals would call for individual landlords to require a licence - costing up to £200 - although discounts would be available for properties in the 'Rent Safe Scheme', a voluntary accreditation scheme which is free to join.

Social Housing providers and parishes are given a 100% discount on their properties if they are in the 'Rent Safe' scheme.

It was originally suggested that properties would be subject to annual inspections, to coincide with an annual renewal of the licence. This was criticised by the Scrunity Panel which suggested inspections every five years would suffice. An amendment has been lodged to reflect this suggestion, extending the validity of a licence from one year to five.

Politicians will debate the proposition and amendment today (Tuesday 25 February).

It's the cost of these new proposals that is the worry. The Environmental Health Department already has quite substantial powers under the 2018 public Health and Safety (Rentedl Dwellings) Law. They have powers to go into properties, they can issue improvement notices, or even close a property down with a prohibition notice and we think that this is enough. By bringing in these licensing laws it's going to increase inflation and increase rents, and if landlords can't cope they may well sell their units.

– Emma Paul, Jersey Landlords' Association
Credit: ITV Channel TV

The concern is that if landlords decided to sell their properties, the existing stock of rental properties in would diminish, and prices pushed up.

The Environment Minister, Deputy John Young in bringing the proposition said that despite the legal framework already available, "the Department responsible for enforcement continues to uncover rented dwellings in really poor condition".

The 2018 Law was brought in with the primary purpose of introducing minimum standards for rented accommodation.