The Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 2011 was originally adopted by the States of Jersey in 2009 to establish a modern legal framework for the residential landlord and tenancy relationship. The purpose of the law is to clarify the respective rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant and give protection to the third of Islanders who live in rented accommodation.
When will the law come into force?
The law is now expected to come into force in the summer of 2012 and will apply to all residential tenancy agreements made after that date.
As a landlord, will I have to replace my existing lease?
No but you should be aware that the provisions of the law will apply upon the renewal or variation of your lease and any replacement leases must be compliant with the provisions of the law.
What is a residential tenancy agreement ("RTA")
An RTA is an agreement which provides for the exclusive occupation of a residential unit of accommodation by one or more people for value (rental) and for a period of 9 years or less (or without a specific term). In other words a lease.
Are commercial and agricultural property covered by the law ?
No and neither are nursing home or short let accommodation.
I am preparing a new lease, what provisions must it contain?
- be in writing and signed by both parties;
- a description of the residential unit;
- the commencement and termination dates;
- the name, address or business address of the Landlord and/or the landlord's managing agent;
- the rental payable and the frequency of such payments;
- the name of the person to whom the rental is to be paid;
- the details of any deposit or guarantee to be held;
- the rent review date (if any) together with the basis of such review (e.g. Jersey Retail Prices Index);
- an inventory of contents owned by the landlord (if applicable).
- no restriction upon the tenant fixing things to and removing things from walls etc provided that the tenant makes good any damage caused in so doing;
- no provision by which you unreasonably withhold or delay consent to any reasonable request by the tenant; ]
- no requirement for the tenant to purchase any fixture and fittings;
- no charging your tenant a premium or key money in respect of the residential unit.
Should any of the above provisions be omitted, in the event of any dispute they will be considered to be implied and taken to form part of the RTA.
I have tenants who pay from month to month. How much notice must I give them to vacate the premises?
You will be required to provide your tenant with three months written notice of your intention to terminate the tenancy whilst the tenant will be required to provide you with one months notice.
Neither party need give formal notice if the other party is in breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement or if a mutual agreement to end the tenancy is reached.
What rights do my tenants have under the new law ?
- At least 24 hours to review the lease before signing.
- not to pay the full rental due if part of the rental property becomes uninhabitable – provided of course that the tenant is not the reason for the issue.
- to enjoy the rental property without interference from the landlord
- to receive a copy of the fully executed agreement;
- to receive a receipt for the deposit (if any) paid by the tenant.
Does the landlord have any rights?
Yes via proceedings issued through the Petty Debts Court
Can I evict my tenant?
Yes, through the Petty Debts Court, if the Court is satisfied that the tenant has:-
- breached one or more terms of the RTA; and
- has been given notice of the breach and an opportunity to remedy the breach;
- has failed to comply with such notice.
If an order for eviction is granted, the Viscount is charged with attending the premises and putting you in possession. In this regard the Viscount is granted powers of entry and the power to remove and dispose of the tenant's effects.
How will the new housing law affect me?
The new housing law called "Control of Housing and Work (Jersey) Law 201-" is also due to come into force in the summer of 2012 and its implementation will extend the provisions of the Residential Tenancy Law to those currently resident in self contained units in the unqualified sector such as lodging house tenants.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.