The Minister for Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, has issued guidance on the legal support and protection for residential landlords and tenants during the COVID-19 outbreak.
New regulations were passed by the States Assembly on Thursday 9 April, and came into effect the following day. They aim to protect Islanders from becoming homeless during the COVID-19 outbreak, and to ensure that fewer people face financial hardship.
Under the regulations - which are in effect until 30 September 2020:
- Tenants in financial hardship due to COVID-19 cannot be evicted for failing to pay rent or other bills
- Landlords may not increase rents, including where notice of a rent increase was issued before the regulations came into force
- Tenants can extend their tenancies if they are due to end before 1 October 2020. Any fixed-term tenancy that is due to end before that date may continue as another fixed-term tenancy or periodic tenancy unless agreed by the parties.
Tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus outbreak should write to their landlord with evidence of financial hardship and the two parties should to agree how to manage the rent arrears.
After 30 September 2020, landlords are able to deal with rent arrears in the usual way – by serving notice for a breach of tenancy and applying to the Court in order to evict a tenant.
Minister for Housing, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “The Government’s priority at this time is to keep Islanders safe and reduce the speed at which coronavirus spreads in the community, often referred to as ‘flattening the curve’.
“This Law aims to ensure that Islanders facing financial hardship are neither left without a home, or find they need to move homes during the outbreak. With housing costs in Jersey being so high, and so many people working reduced or no hours at all, we need to offer all the support we can.
“Throughout this difficult time, we expect landlords and tenants to be honest, transparent and reasonable in how they communicate. This guidance offers a balanced approach to help them do so.”
The guidance is available on the Government of Jersey website.