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Move to improve property standards 'will put rents up'

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INCREASED red tape to ensure rental properties meet minimum standards will result in rent rises and deter private investors from entering the market, the president of the Jersey Landlords' Association has said.

Last week, Environment Minister Steve Luce announced proposals to create an accredited landlords' register in an effort to improve rental standards, with property owners to be charged for licences.

If approved, the proposals would mean that all rented properties would have to meet minimum health and safety standards and landlords could be issued with notices if the property fails an inspection.

If the notice is ignored the landlord could face court.

However, Robert Weston, president of the association, has argued that putting 'unnecessary and costly extra red tape' in place will ultimately have a negative impact on tenants.

He said that if the plans were approved, the additional States costs of enforcing the law would be high.

He added that existing laws protected tenants from substandard properties.

Last year, Housing Minister Anne Pryke delegated power to the Environmental Health Department to investigate and prosecute landlords if they are considered to be mismanaging a property.

Mr Weston said: 'There is no evidence whatsoever to prove a need for a provision that requires property owners to be registered and licensed before renting out their accommodation to private tenants.

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'There has been no recent or comprehensive research or consultation to support this proposition.

'Staffing and other administrative expenditure will all cost big money.

'This is surely an expensive nonsense, which will cost a small fortune to enforce and administer properly and will certainly increase rents in the private sector.'

The proposition is due to be debated on 31 October.

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