Call for help for tenants left homeless after fires

CHANGES to the law are urgently needed to protect people who find themselves homeless after a fire, a politician has said.

Picture: Jersey Fire and Rescue (30236993)
Picture: Jersey Fire and Rescue (30236993)

Deputy Montfort Tadier said that under Jersey’s Residential Tenancy Law, while tenants were not made to pay rent if a residential unit was uninhabitable, there was no requirement for the landlord to provide alternative accommodation.

The St Brelade Deputy asked newly elected Housing Minister Russell Labey during last week’s States sitting if there were sufficient safeguards for tenants left homeless by a fire or other event.

Deputy Tadier said it was ‘not just a theoretical problem’, after six families were made homeless after a fire at a St Aubin block of flats in December last year.

Some tenants were offered alternative accommodation but for only two or three weeks, he said, with some remaining in temporary accommodation paid for by insurance or their own money.

According to Deputy Tadier, residents felt like they had been discarded and left to fend for themselves. ‘This cannot be right. There should be some kind of duty of care on the part of the landlord as long as the tenancy agreement is in place,’ said Deputy Tadier. He added that he had already spoken to policy officers and other colleagues ‘with a view to closing the loophole in the law’.

He said: ‘If you were renting a car which became faulty, you would expect it to be replaced for the duration of your contract, at no extra cost to you. A home is much more important than a car, and it is time the law reflected that.’

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