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‘Red tape could reduce the number of rental properties’

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UP to 15 private landlords in the Island could take their rental properties off the market because of new licensing proposals, an association head has said.

Robert Weston

Last month the Environmental Health Department unveiled plans that will go before the States to establish a register of licensed landlords in a bid to improve the standards of rental properties in the Island.

Under the plans landlords would be required to obtain a licence to let out properties and it is hoped the move will help officers identify all of the Island’s homes and ensure they meet the minimum standards set out in last year’s rental dwellings law.

This week a number of tenants and landlords attended two consultation sessions at the Town Hall and Environmental Health director Stuart Petrie was questioned on the new proposals. Jersey Landlords Association honorary president Robert Weston has already warned the new ‘red tape’ could drive landlords out of the industry, and he said that around 15 had already contacted him expressing this view.

He said: ‘So far I can think of 12 but there are about 15 who have already expressed that view in recent weeks and that will present a big problem for Jersey.

‘This new register then becomes counter-productive because the Island needs properties available to rent, but that number will go down if people leave the industry. There won’t be enough housing and the rent will go up.’

In a lengthy response to the consultation, Mr Weston has already said that landlords need to be protected as well as the tenants, and that the new legislation is another way the government is contradicting its own policies to provide more rental accommodation.

He said that he and the association believe Environmental Health should stick to policing the industry by complaint and deal only with delinquent landlords instead of punishing everyone.

‘All of these costs will just lead to rents going up, possibly by £800 to £1,000 a year. It is just counter- productive,’ he added.

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