Proposition to Change Notice Periods for Periodic Tenancies: An Update

February 14, 2022

On 7th February 2022, we provided an update in relation to Senator Mezéc’s proposition which invited the States Assembly to request that the Minister for Housing and Communities issue a Ministerial Order to change the statutory minimum notice periods which must be provided to periodic tenants under the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011 (the “Proposition”).

The Proposition was debated by the States Assembly on 10th February 2022.

Prior to the debate, the Minister for Housing and Communities (Deputy Labey) (the “Minister”) lodged an amendment to the Proposition which invited the States to allow the legislative changes sought by Senator Mezéc to be considered within the remit of the wider review that his officers were currently undertaking in relation to the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011.

In proposing his amendment, the Minister suggested that Senator Mezec’s proposition was a “knee-jerk reaction” and that in isolation the amendment to the notice periods provided under the 2011 Law would be unlikely to result in the improved security of tenure that Senator Mezéc hoped to achieve for residential tenants. The Minister suggested that Senator Mezéc’s aims could only be achieved by enacting wholesale changes to the 2011 Law.

Following the debate, the States assembly voted in favour of the Minister’s amendment by 34 votes to 11. Having approved that amendment, the States voted in favour of the amended proposition by 40 votes to 6.

The outcome of the vote means that the question of notice periods will now be considered as part of the wider legislative review which is currently being undertaken by the Minister’s officers in conjunction with the Legislative Drafting Office. This was commenced after the Minister signed a Ministerial Decision on 4th February 2022.

Proposed Changes to the 2011 Law

The Minister’s decision to commission a review of the 2011 Law follows directly from the commitment given in his “Creating Better Homes Action Plan” which was published in June 2021.

Since that commitment was made government officers have produced a report setting out their findings as to the current state of the Law and the manner in which it might be improved. The report annexed to the Ministerial Decision suggests that any proposed changes to the 2011 Law are likely to:

  1. Extend the reach of the Law to provide greater protection to a greater proportion of individuals living in rented accommodation;
  2. Enhance provisions within the Law in relation to notice periods to strengthen tenant’s rights whilst maintaining flexibility;
  3. Create a simple and streamlined landlord register;
  4. Clarify and expand upon provisions relating to investigatory and enforcement powers under the Law and the circumstances in which the Court might intervene;
  5. Clarify the roles and responsibilities of parties to residential tenancy agreements; and
  6. Introduce further Ministerial powers to promulgate Regulations and Orders to allow tenancy-related legislation to keep pace with developments.

The Ministerial Decision paper suggests that a new draft residential tenancy law will be drafted and put out for full public consultation towards the end of 2022. We will keep an eye on this and update you further as it progresses.

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