'Out of control' house prices could see Jersey States declare affordability crisis

Above inflation rent rises could be banned and rents for social housing could also be cut to 80% of the market rate, in a new move from Jersey politicians. Credit: PA Images

Above inflation rent rises could be banned and rents for social housing could also be cut to 80% of the market rate, in a new move from Jersey politicians. Former Housing Minister and Reform Jersey leader, Senator Sam Mezec has asked the States to declare a "housing affordability crisis" and bring in measures to address the cost of rented properties.

He put forward the following proposals, saying house prices are "out of control" and the system favours investors over individuals:

  • Legislate to enhance security of tenure for tenants, including by making tenancies open- ended as standard practice

  • Ban above-inflation rent increases, and set up a Rent Tribunal

  • Cut social housing rents from 90% of the market rate to 80%

Jersey’s housing market is broken. It works too much in the interests of investors, rather than people who need a home. House prices are out of control, aspiring homeowners are constantly outbid by investors and our social housing rents system is putting people in rental stress.

Senator Sam Mezec

Last year, house prices in the island hit an all time high. One bed flats and two and three bed houses were the most expensive they have ever been.In February, figures showed getting a mortgage on a median-priced house in Jersey is no longer feasible for the average working household.Senator Mezec says these new proposals reflect some of the recommendations made by the Housing Policy Development Board, which has not yet been published, despite being presented to the Chief Minister in October last year. He says the lack of action on Senator John Le Fondre's part was a contributing factor in his 'pour' vote during the Vote of No Confidence against the Chief Minister last year.

It was following this vote that Senator Mezec resigned from the Council of Minsters.

The fact that the report has spent almost six months sat on a shelf gathering dust without being published shows that my concerns were well founded. I now believe it is in the public interest to force these issues onto the political agenda.

Senator Sam Mezec

The proposition will be debated next month.