Jersey's Housing Minister proposes 'greater protection for tenants' under new law

Housing Minister Sam Mézec has proposed changes to provide greater security for renters. Credit: PA

Tenants in Jersey could be given more protection if a new housing law is passed by the States.

The legislation would limit rent rises to once a year with a minimum notice period before the higher rate is brought in and it would guard against "excessive" increases.

Under the proposed changes, "inappropriate fees and charges" would be banned with an appeals process for landlords and tenants, plus penalties if people do not comply.

A new type of tenancy has been suggested which would offer an initial fixed-term contract with extended minimum notice periods for long-standing renters.

Landlords would however be able to take swifter action against tenants in serious breach of their agreement with a set of reasons included in the law to allow properties to be reclaimed.

A new housing tribunal is expected to be set up regardless of the outcome of these proposals after States Members already agreed to create a way for disputes to be resolved independently.

The proposed new Residential Tenancy Law.

Housing Minister Sam Mézec is bringing forward the changes and says: "I want tenants to feel like they have security in their homes, in their lives, to know that if they have problems with the property they aren't going to get punished for it and to know when there are unfair and unjustifiable rental suggestions, they will have the power to stand up to themselves.

"Delivering greater protections for tenants, whilst balancing this against the rights of landlords, within a modern and fit-for-purpose framework, will go a huge way to alleviating this aspect of the housing crisis."

He believes the current rules are out of date and hopes these proposals could be approved by politicians and come into law by 2025.

One Jersey tenant told ITV News that her landlord said he would increase her rent within two months of moving in.

Speaking anonymously, she explains: "Everyone in my position who is unqualified has limited options so when you do find something that is in your budget, which is rare, you don't want to make a fuss because you don't want to get booted out.

"There are so many rules so when you don't have somewhere to live, you really don't have somewhere to live."

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