Jersey States plan for tenancy agreements

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People living in unqualified housing in Jersey could soon get tenancy agreements for the first time, according to the housing minister.

Deputy Andrew Green wants the States to approve legislation that gives tenants and landlords clearer legal rights and responsibilities.

He said the new law would include clearer notice periods.

People who do not meet certain residency criteria have to live in unqualified property.

To live in qualified accommodation Jersey residents need to have lived in the island for 10 years, be essentially employed or married to someone who has housing qualifications.

FEATURES OF THE LAW

  • Clear notice periods. A landlord will be required to give his tenants three months notice and a tenant will have to give one month.
  • Basic requirements for all tenancy agreements. Who the rent is to be paid to and its frequency; how much the deposit is; when the rent is to be reviewed; contact details.
  • A requirement for the landlord to give a written and signed copy of the tenancy agreement to the tenant and to allow the tenant a 24-hour period before signing the agreement so that he or she can seek advice on its contents.
  • Court processes to be followed in cases of breach or eviction are clearly outlined, including grounds for stays of eviction.

Deputy Green said the law should be in place by 1 May and once it has been passed he would bring in a new deposit protection scheme.

He said the plan was to replace outdated laws making renting fairer. This would include giving tenants three months notice for them to leave.

The Residential Tenancy Law replaces a number of old Jersey laws on tenancy written in French.

The minister said it would create a fair balance between the rights of the landlord and the tenant.

Malcolm Ferey, Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau Chief Executive, said the island relied heavily on the rental sector.

He said: "It is only fair that there is a modern legal framework which provides clarity and protection for both tenant and landlord.

"To this end, I believe that this law will be a significant step forward."

The proposal from the housing minister will be debated in the spring.

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