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One Step Closer To Licensing Landlords

States members have agreed in principle to licences for Jersey's landlords.

It is part of a crackdown on rentals which are below the standard expected for accommodation.

Environment Minister Deputy Jonathan Renouf proposed a fresh attempt to bring in a scheme, after previous attempts were rejected by the last States Assembly.

After a lengthy debate, politicians passed his motion 34 in favour and 10 against.

However, Scrutiny has called-in the regulations for further examination, so another States vote will be held in autumn before the licensing system can be introduced.

It is set to require landlords to apply for a licence every two years - at a cost of £60 - to ensure their property is safe to live in.

Deputy Jonathon Renouf assured the States it is not an attack on landlords.

"We're not here to demonise landlords, and the key determinant of that is that we will not be inspecting every property. We do not need to inspect every property, we do not want to inspect every property.

For most landlords, the engagement of these regulations will be filling out the form and paying the fee.

He told the Chamber claims that landlords will sell up because of the paperwork is fanciful;

"Really? One form every two years.  I think not.  I think to a significant extent, some landlords are fighting a monster that doesn't exist.  I note in passing that the bureaucracy of selling a house is considerably greater."

Deputy Renouf said he does not want landlords to be alarmed by the States' agreement, as there will not be a scramble to bring in the regulations.

Landlords can expect licenses to be introduced by May 2024 at the very earliest.

Reform Jersey's Leader, Deputy Sam Mezéc, says the licencing could actually save landlords a lot of money in the long term.

"The vast majority of landlords are decent and responsible and want to comply with the law, and some of them despite all of the best will in the world may occasionally just miss something or make a mistake.

What this licensing regime do, it will help them identify where there are problems and they will get free advice from the environmental health department on how to fix it."

The charity Caritas has welcomed the decision, describing it as 'a big step in the right direction' for 'equality and dignity for all'. 

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