Law to raise standards of residential accommodation in Jersey
Natalie Harris | 07/03/19
Various legislation has been introduced in Jersey in the past five years to regulate residential lettings in Jersey.
The Public Health and Safety (Rented Dwellings – Minimum Standards and Prescribed Hazards) (Jersey) Order 2018 came into force on 1 December 2018 and introduced legal minimum standards for rental accommodation in Jersey to protect the health and well-being of tenants.
The Order requires landlords to:-
- Install a smoke alarm on each storey of rented accommodation (whether or not that storey has a habitable room);
- Install a carbon monoxide alarm in each habitable room of rented accommodation with an oil, gas, wood, coal or similar heater or burner;
- Ensure the alarms are kept in full working order;
- Carry out an annual gas safety inspection where there is a gas supply to the rented accommodation, provide a copy of the record of the gas safety inspection to the tenant and retain the inspection record for at least 2 years; and
- Carry out an electrical safety inspection before the commencement or renewal of a letting or within 5 years of the last inspection, provide a copy of the inspection record to the tenant and retain the inspection record for at least 5 years.
The Order also provides a list of various matters and circumstances deemed to be hazards to the health and well-being of tenants. This list includes, amongst other things, damp and mould growth, excess cold or heat, unsafe drinking water and lack of adequate space for living and sleeping.
The Order also applies to lodging houses and staff accommodation.
Environmental health officers are also given the power to enter rented accommodation to assess hazards. The environmental health officer can take immediate action if a tenant is deemed to be at an imminent risk of serious harm.
These changes have brought Jersey’s rental standards in line with other jurisdictions and provided clarity and protection for tenants.
In 2017, the States also launched the Rent Safe scheme, where an environmental health officer inspects a rented property and if it meets the minimum standards, issues an accreditation to the landlord on the quality of the property they are letting out with a 3, 4 or 5 star rating on the gov.je website.
Rent Safe is a voluntary scheme and whilst all landlords are able to register their properties, only those that meet an accredited rating are listed on the Rent Safe register.
By using an accredited landlord potential tenants have reassurance, before looking at a property, that the landlord takes their tenant’s welfare seriously, takes action to resolve issues quickly and works to ensure their properties continue to meet recognised housing standards.
In July 2018 the Rent Safe scheme was extended to include managing agents and letting agents.