The Jersey Reform Party’s proposals for open-ended leases and rent controls will only exacerbate and accelerate the problem of tenants being notified to leave, the Jersey Landlords Association (JLA) says.

Landlords’ real fears about increasing red tape and the rising cost of renting real estate are already biting, according to the group, which believes the introduction of the health and safety (rental housing) law (Jersey) and the poor implementation over the past three years has resulted in landlords selling their rental properties.

It now hopes to overturn new plans to introduce compulsory licensing; despite being voted against twice by the United States, Senator Kristina Moore wants to mandate the current voluntary Rent Safe scheme, which the JLA has labeled “backdoor licensing.”

The Jersey government has also announced that it is shaking up the rental market to provide redress for private tenants against unfair or unjustified rent increases.

Rent checks

The Fair Rents Plan includes measures to reinstate the Rent Control Tribunal this year, giving private tenants the opportunity to appeal to an independent body if they believe their rent is excessive.

The JLA says he has not been consulted about the plan. Scotland recently published similar proposals, including a controversial system of rent controls, while the UK government is set to strengthen tenants’ rights in the forthcoming Renters Reform Bill.

JLA member Emma Paul (pictured) says: “Jersey’s public health and safety legislation already provides mechanisms for rental properties that are in poor condition and present a health and safety concern, which must be received with improvement or prohibition notices along with the ability to let landlords to fine.

“The argument that the environmental health department doesn’t know where these properties are needs to be addressed because states have passed a proposal to register all properties — so they know what properties are rented out.”