Plans to make landlords in Jersey pay for licenses to rent out their properties have been rejected by the States.Jersey's Environment Minister Deputy John Young proposed creating a register of all rented dwellings, and charging the owners an annual fee for a licence to be on it.He said the scheme would include inspections to aid the enforcement of minimum standards for rental properties, which were approved by the States back in 2018.
Since then Environmental Health has heard 448 complaints for issues including damp, broken windows and a lack of working smoke detectors, hot water and toilets.In the States Assembly, members rejected the principles of the scheme by 24 votes to 20, with one abstention.Jersey's Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondré abstained from the vote as he is a commercial and residential landlord and wanted to avoid a conflict of interest. Several other members had declared an interest as landlords or tenants, but still took part in the debate.
Landlords had argued that the system was overly bureaucratic and could prompt some to withdraw their properties from the market. Responding to the vote, the Jersey Landlords Association said the way to improve circumstances for tenants was to 'empower' them.
This means understanding why tenants have historically not complained and doing everything that can be done to change that. We have made several suggestions, including the upgrading of leases to include important information about who a tenant can contact in the event of a complaint, and a declaration by the landlord that their property is compliant with all pertinent regulations.
The JLA said this was a case of wanting a 'targeted and cost-effective' solution rather than the organisation 'resisting reform'. They say they will be contacting the Environment minister in due course.
Deputy John Young says he may bring the idea back to the States at a later date, with adjustments to meet some of the concerns expressed by his colleagues.