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Minister to Withdraw Rent Control Tribunal

Feb 02, 2023

Yesterday, the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel (the Panel) held a Public Quarterly Hearing with the Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy David Warr.

The Panel queried the status of the proposition for the establishment of a Rent Control Tribunal, and why it had been delayed further. The Minister for Housing and Communities explained that he had recently made a decision to withdraw the proposition completely. This decision had been taken as a result of his intention to now implement a new, more encompassing ‘Residential Tenancy Law’ (the Law). The intention is that this Law will replace the outdated Housing Laws currently in place with one which is more fit for purpose. 

Concerning these plans, the Panel heard:

• The new Residential Tenancy Law will be in place by the end of 2024 and will encompass and include the proposal for the establishment of a Rent Control Tribunal.

• The Law will seek to establish a level playing field for private and social housing.

• The current protections for landlords and tenants, which are restricted to those protections contained in tenancy leases, will be expanded under the new law. In the interim period, a Housing Advice Service has been launched within the Customer and Local Services Department to provide guidance and support for landlords and tenants with tenancy issues.

• Agreements between the Government and social housing providers ‘will be made more formal’ under the new Law.

• The Minister confirmed that a white paper encompassing a more detailed plan for all of the above will be developed and brought to the Scrutiny Panel “within the next 4 to 6 weeks”, suggesting that this will be a better solution for landlords and tenants than the establishment of a Rent Control Tribunal.

The Panel then questioned the Minister on action to tackle vacant properties in Jersey. The Minister advised the Panel that a further 20 responses have been received following Tuesday’s launch of a community self-reporting system for empty homes, and that the total was now around 60. The Panel was keen to seek an assurance from the Minister that such a scheme will be accompanied by action on States’-owned vacant properties. 

When the Panel pressed the Minister on the realities of modern methods of construction for housing, they heard an outline of the work under way for delivering more affordable homes in the next couple of years. The Minister clarified, however, that the term ‘modern methods of construction’ does not necessarily refer to cost-saving for what people are paying, but speed and efficiency in building. 

Deputy Steve Luce, Chair of the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Panel, said: “We thank the Minister and his Officers for their responses to the Panel’s questions. The Panel looks forward to seeing a more detailed proposal for the Residential Tenancy Law within the next 4-6 weeks.’ 

A full recording of the public hearing can be watched here.

States Assembly Press Notice

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