27 July 2016
The Environmental Health Department has been given new powers to investigate complaints about landlords in Jersey.
The powers, which have been delegated to the Department by the Minister for Housing, will enable environmental health officers to help if a tenant thinks their landlord is breaking the Residential Tenancy Law.
The new powers will enable Environmental Health to deal with the most common issues facing tenants in Jersey, including threats of eviction and failure to protect tenancy deposits.
The Minister for Housing, Deputy Anne Pryke, said “It is important tenants are able to get advice if they think their lease is not being managed correctly and, if necessary, ask Environmental Health to investigate their complaint. Environmental Health will now have the power to prosecute landlords who knowingly breach the law, which could result in them facing a fine of up to £2,000.
“These powers sit alongside the launch of the Rent Safe landlord accreditation as part of our drive to improve standards across the rental sector and to protect tenants and support good landlords. They mean that effective powers will now be in place to deal with landlords who are failing to meet their obligations to tenants.”
The Residential Tenancy Law has been in force since 2013, providing a framework of rights and responsibilities for landlords and tenants. Under the powers delegated to Environmental Health, officers will be able to take action where a landlord has:
- threatened to evict a tenant illegally
- failed to provide a written lease
- failed to complete a condition report
- has not protected a tenant’s deposit in the mydeposits Jersey tenancy deposit scheme
- charged a tenant above the retail price for utilities.
Environmental Health already has powers to investigate complaints about the repair and maintenance of rented accommodation and these new powers will expand this responsibility to include the way tenancies are managed.
The Director of Environmental Health, Stewart Petrie, said “Tenants have the right to expect a minimum set of standards and landlords should be providing good quality and secure homes. However, it is often the case that where there are concerns about property conditions, there will also be shortcomings in the way a tenancy is being managed. Officers encounter these problems all the time so having investigative and enforcement powers in one place means we can deal with tenancy problems more effectively and, as a last resort, take appropriate enforcement action.”
Tenants concerned about the way their lease is being managed or landlords who need advice should contact Environmental Health.
Call Environmental Health on +44 (0)1534 445808
Email Environmental Health