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Housing qualification time could be reduced

19 October 2010

The amount of time people have to wait to gain housing qualifications in Jersey could be reduced if the States approve a proposal by the Housing Minister.

Deputy Sean Power is proposing a 1 year reduction in the housing qualification period – from 11 to 10 years. If approved, this will achieve the target set by the States in 2005.

Deputy Power said “Reducing the housing qualification period to 10 years is part of a strategy to improve rights for newer migrants while continuing to protect housing for long established residents.

“I have reviewed all the evidence from the Population Office and I am satisfied that this is the best time to achieve this target without affecting our already high house prices.”

Statistics show that approximately 60% of the people who qualified early as a result of the last reduction in the qualification period in May 2009, have not moved to take advantage of the reduction. The 250 people who have moved to take advantage of the reduction formed 3 - 5% of the total housing market - when the market is at a low ebb.

These changes are part of an overall approach to housing which seeks to be fair, and which balances support for our economy with the need to preserve our natural environment.

As part of this, the Minister is planning to improve tenancy rights for all Islanders, whether qualified or unqualified. This will mean introducing basic protections such as notice periods and tenancy agreements through the forthcoming Residential Tenancy Law and the draft new Migration Law.

Deputy Power added “It should not be forgotten that until quite recently people born outside Jersey could never qualify for housing in their own right. Achieving a 10 year qualification period is therefore an important step, while still preserving most housing in Jersey for long established residents.”

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