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Tenants deposit scheme approved

10 July 2014

The States Assembly has approved the introduction of a scheme to protect the deposits paid by tenants when they rent a property in Jersey.

The new Residential Tenancy (Deposit Scheme Regulations) will come into force in February 2015. The new regulations will introduce a scheme under which landlords will pass on deposits paid by tenants to an independent third-party who will hold the deposit for the duration of a tenancy, giving tenants greater confidence that the money they have paid is being held securely and will be repaid smoothly at the end of an agreement.

Housing Minister Deputy Andrew Green “I recognise that the vast majority of landlords are responsible and handle deposits responsibly. These regulations will remove the risk that deposits, in a minority of cases, will be withheld unfairly by landlords at the end of a residential tenancy agreement and provide a simple framework for landlords and tenants to manage deposits. I am pleased that the Assembly has given its support to the regulations and that Members have recognised the need to address the need to make sure tenants are treated consistently and fairly.”

Deputy Green and the Strategic Housing Unit based at the Chief Minister’s Department will now undertake a competitive tender process to find a suitable independent provider to administer the deposit scheme.

“I am conscious that landlord and tenants will now want assurance that the deposit scheme is simple to use and will support them handling deposits. We will carry out a substantial publicity campaign to ensure that all parties no about their rights and responsibilities and how the scheme works before it is introduced in 2015. This will be a big change for landlords and tenants but we will ensure that they are supported as much as possible when using the deposit scheme,” he said.

The new regulations also provide a free and independent dispute resolution service to assist when landlords and tenants were unable to agree over the return of a deposit. Although both parties will still have the option of legal action it is hoped that the new provision will give people greater confidence that disputes can be resolved quickly, effectively and fairly.

The regulations are part of a continuing programme of work being undertaken by the Strategic Housing Unit based within the Chief Minister’s Department which is modernising the statutory framework for the residential rental sector in Jersey.

The States voted 35 in favour of the regulations with 1 abstention.

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