Petition Rental price caps law to limit rental prices to reasonable rents

A law to limit rental prices is required in Jersey in my opinion.

Rents are far too high. Rents should be around 30% of people's salaries. The present rents are causing rent distress in individuals and businesses to close.

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Ministers responded

This response was given on 19 September 2018

The Minister for Housing will pursue policies that improve the standard of living for islanders, including improving the quality and affordability of housing.

Read the response in full

The Minister for Housing recognises that the cost of housing is a challenge for many households in Jersey. 73% of lower-income household living in qualified private rented accommodation could be considered in ‘rental stress’, with some families paying over half of their income in housing costs.

The Income Distribution Survey 2014/15 showed that the cost of housing was the single biggest contributory factor for relative low income.

The Minister is determined that this government must pursue policies that will improve the standard of living for islanders, including making housing more affordable across all sectors – owner-occupied, social rented and private rented housing.

Legislating to cap rents at a particular level is just one option, however it has shown limited success when it has been used previously in Jersey and in other jurisdictions. There are many other options to improve the affordability and quality of housing that must be considered too.

The Chief Minister intends to establish a Policy Development Board to look at the affordability of housing. The Minister for Housing intends to work with this board to explore in detail the options for improving housing affordability, including the formula for calculating rents in the social housing sector.

Ongoing work to improve housing affordability will include:

- The introduction of the Public Health and Safety (Rented Dwellings) Law 2018, which will provide a mechanism to ensure that properties in the rental market meet minimum standards, so that no tenant is having to pay rent to live in a substandard property.

- Measures to improve transparency in relation to the fees and charges tenants are required to pay when letting a property. The Tenant Fees Bill in the UK will, if adopted, prevent landlords and letting agents from requiring tenants to pay certain charges. The Minister is actively considering the introduction of similar measures here.

- Expanding the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 to protect against discrimination in the rented sector for tenants with children.

- Consideration of ‘rent stabilisation’ measures that require landlords to provide longer leases with no above-inflation rent increases permitted.

- Improving the supply of housing, with more than 1,000 affordable homes being built between now and 2020.

- Examining ways to bring long-term vacant properties back into use as homes and measures to tackle under-occupation.

- Exploring additional schemes to support assisted home ownership.

- Exploring the introduction of a moratorium on buy-to-let properties by unqualified persons on new developments.

In relation to commercial rents, the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, while recognising the challenges faced by many businesses in Jersey, believes that rents are a function of the market and is not minded to introduce rent controls that might negatively impact on the supply and quality of commercial premises.

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