Jersey's government approves landlord licensing scheme

Drone shot of houses in Jersey.
Thousands of rental properties could be subject to inspections under the scheme. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey's government has approved a licensing scheme for rental properties.

Under the plans from Deputy Rob Ward, landlords will be required to apply for a license for each of their rental properties, which will need to be renewed every five years. 

There will be no initial charge for existing landlords to join the scheme, which is designed to uphold minimum safety standards in rental accommodation.

Inspections would then be carried out periodically, to ensure the home complied with the legal minimum standards for rental dwellings.

The minimum standards agreed by the States in 2018 cover faults such as damp, excess cold, drainage and electrical hazards, as well as structural safety.

According to the Environmental Health Department, around 3,000 dwellings inspected in the last three years have failed to meet them.

In September 2020, States members rejected a licensing scheme that proposed charging landlords to join.

Deputy Ward's proposition only suggests fees for new applications, as existing landlords would be granted a licence free of charge without pre-inspection. Licences would then be renewed every five years. The Reform Jersey politician hopes the reduced costs and bureaucracy will encourage more members to back it.

The body representing landlords in island is suspicious that fees may be introduced later, and suggests a voluntary registration scheme instead.

However, the Jersey Tenants Forum says politicians need to take action to protect their constituents and ensure their safety.

Later in this week's States sitting, Senator Sam Mézec will ask members to declare a housing affordability crisis, and agree a series of measures to tackle it.

The Housing Minister Deputy Russell announced his own Action Plan for the sector last week, including £10 million in support for first time buyers.