Outrage after Jersey's social housing tenants handed 9% rent increase with three weeks' notice

ITV Channel's Emma Volney reports...

Jersey's housing minister has written to the Jersey Homes Trust (JHT) after its tenants were told their rent had increased with three weeks' notice.

Deputy David Warr has requested that the increase be delayed by one month to "offer tenants more time to get financial arrangements put in place".

Of the 900 homes owned by the social housing provider, 835 received letters over the weekend outlining how their rent would be rising by between 5-9%.

The JHT was originally founded by the States in the 1990s but is now independent of the government.

Although the provider did not raise rent prices during the pandemic, residents say they received no warning about this increase.

The JHT says the rise is partly down to the previous rent freeze, in addition to rising inflation.

It says it is increasing rents below the 12% rate of inflation and it won't be making a profit, but that the money raised is needed to cover costs and build more affordable homes.

Pensioner Colin Rotheram has been told his rent will increase by 9%, meaning from 1 April he will have to pay £75 more a month.

He does not receive any government support which means he will have to pay the difference himself.

Colin says he is struggling as his pension has not increased with the cost of living Credit: ITV Channel

Colin said: “Every year you tighten it and tighten it until you can’t tighten it anymore, and I’m not doing half the things I used to do.”

“For the single mothers, and there are lots of them here, it will be impossible.”

He thinks Reform Jersey, which has spoken out against the rent increases, is "fighting a losing battle".

He added: “The government don’t know what’s going on at this level.”

Deputy Sam Mezec from Reform believes the island needs some form of rent control "to prevent rent increases that people just can't afford from being implemented and to stop them being implemented at such short notice."

He added: "We don't have that regime at the moment so right now the government's got to get round a table with the Jersey Homes Trust to try to find an easier way through this rather than to increase people's rents by 9% with just three weeks' notice."

The party says it has been contacted by many unhappy tenants and is arranging a meeting to support them.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…