States Back Extra Protection For Tenants

States Back Extra Protection For Tenants

Tenants can't be evicted for financial reasons because of coronavirus and rent increases will be suspended in Jersey until the end of September, after the States Assembly accepted emergency coronavirus legislation put forward by the Housing Minister.

The Guidance issued by Senator Sam Mézec, Minister for Children and Housing, in relation to residential property, dovetails with the approval of the Covid-19 (Residential Tenancy) (Temporary Amendment of Law) (Jersey) Regulations 2020. These Regulations make temporary amendments to the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011 during the COVID-19 Period, which has been initially approved as ending 30 September 2020.

The changes to the Residential Tenancy Law introduce measures to prevent tenants from being evicted due to financial hardship caused by coronavirus, introduce a suspension on rent increases to protect tenants from additional financial hardship and enable tenants to extend their tenancies during the coronavirus outbreak should they so wish. The legislative changes are to be interpreted in line with the Guidance issued in connection with residential property.

Before the debate started, The Jersey Landlords Association called for members to vote against the plans. Chairman Paul Lucas accused the Housing Minister of deciding to use the sledgehammer of legislation to protect tenants rather than trusting landlords to do the right thing.
Senator Sam Mezec responded to that criticism in the remote States sitting.

"I'm sorry to say that I think this attitude is at best naive and at worst, irresponsible. In this time, it is simply not good enough to just rely on goodwill when we're facing a health crisis.

"We're in the biggest public health crisis in a century and we're advising people to stay at home. Being forced to leave home would bring people into unnecessary contact with others, which is part of what spreads the virus."

Tenants are still asked to pay rent if they can and landlords have been told they must continue to provide security of tenure to tenants.
The Housing Minister has the power to amend these orders in relation to tenancies being terminated, increases in rent and failure to pay rent or other sums due to the landlord.

Click here for the full legal amendment.

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