Tenants and landlords in Jersey could soon have clearer legal rights and responsibilities if the States Assembly approves the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011.
The Housing Minister has yesterday (13 February 2013) signed a Ministerial Decision asking the States to debate an Appointed Day Act which would bring the new law into force on 1 May 2013.
The Residential Tenancy Law replaces a number of outdated laws on tenancy written in French and aims to create a fair balance between the rights of the landlord and the tenant. It was debated by the States in 2009 and following further amendments made in the 2012, the Law was registered in the Royal Court in November 2012.
Housing Minister, Deputy Andrew Green, said: “The Residential Tenancy Law is a major piece of social policy legislation which sets out a modern framework of rights and responsibilities for both tenants and landlords under one law. It will benefit all those in the rental sector by providing clear legal obligations.”
Key features of the Residential Tenancy Law include:
• Clear notice periods. A landlord will be required to give his tenants three months notice and a tenant will have to give one month (the law gives the Housing Minister the power to vary these notice periods).
• Basic requirements for all tenancy agreements, e.g. 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.
Jersey Citizens Advice Bureau Chief Executive, Malcolm Ferey, said: “The Bureau takes heart from the fact that this piece of legislation is coming to fruition. Jersey relies heavily on the rental sector to provide accommodation for its residents and 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 Law will also be extended to people without residential qualifications if the States also approve the Control of Housing and Work Law in April 2013. This move will ensure that all tenants in Jersey enjoy the same basic rights.
The law will be debated by the Assembly before the spring.