Jersey: New Residential Tenancies Law

Last Updated: 1 December 2009
Article by Appleby  

Over one-third of Jersey's population lives in rental accommodation.1 It is therefore surprising that there is little law relating to residential tenancies. What statutes dates back to 1919 and 1946, are written in French and is not easily digestible to the non-lawyer. In July 2009, the States of Jersey sought to redress the lack of clarity and public understanding surrounding the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants, by approving the Residential Tenancy (Jersey) Law 200- ("the Law"). The law which is designed to encourage the development of fair, transparent and well-regulated agreements between landlord and tenant will come in to force once it has been approved by the Privy Council. Everyone involved in renting property, whether as landlord or tenant, should familiarise themselves with the terms of the Law as failure to comply may constitute the committing of an offence.

Who Does The Law Apply To?

The Law will apply to all residential tenancy agreements (being agreements for the occupation of self-contained dwellings) for the exclusive occupation of a residential unit for value (i.e. for consideration or payment) and for a period of nine years or less, or for no specified term. For an agreement to constitute a residential tenancy agreement, the exclusive occupation must be by one or more natural persons who are party to the agreement. The Law would not therefore relate to leases for occupation by "J-Category" (essentially-employed) staff, which are usually entered into by the employee's employer, without the employee being party to the lease agreement.

A unit is only a 'self-contained dwelling' if it offers exclusive use to the occupier of a shower or bath; a washbasin; a kitchen; a sleeping space and a lavatory. Certain units within a residential home or premises registered under the Tourism Law may, on the face of it, satisfy this definition. However, the Law prescribes various exclusions, including the two aforementioned types of accommodation, together with holiday lets lasting less than three months and agreements under which the occupier is a boarder, lodger or other licensee. Licences to occupy nonqualified accommodation are not therefore subject to the Law.

The Law applies to all agreements made after the Law's implementation and include those which were made before such date that have been varied or renewed after the Law has come in to force. Whilst the Law requires residential tenancy agreements to be in writing, an agreement is still deemed to be subject to the Law if it is partly or wholly implied, or partly or wholly oral.

What Must A Tenancy Agreement Contain?

Residential tenancy agreements (and any variations or renewals) must be in writing and signed by, or on behalf of, the parties to the agreement. The tenant must be given at least one working day to read the agreement before having to sign it. A copy of the agreement must be given to the tenant as soon as reasonably practicable after it has been signed by the parties. The Law then provides that all residential tenancy agreements must contain the following:

  • A description sufficient to identify the residential unit that is the subject of the agreement;
  • The date that the tenancy commences;
  • The date (if any) when the tenancy will come to an end, or the term (if any) at the end of which the tenancy comes to an end, or the condition (if any) on the fulfilment of which the tenancy comes to an end;
  • Name of the landlord;
  • If there is a managing agent involved, his name and business address, or if there is no such agent, the business address of the landlord;
  • The rent payable and its frequency of payment;
  • The name of to whom the rent is to be paid;
  • How the rent is to be paid;
  • The amount of any deposit or guarantee payable and how and when any such money is to be repaid;
  • When the rent is to be reviewed (if at all) and the basis of review;
  • An inventory of the landlord's movables situated in the accommodation.

Residential tenancy agreements must also contain provisions which:

  • Allow for a tenant to remove his own fixtures subject to making good any damage caused in so doing;
  • Allow for the landlord's consent not to be unreasonably withheld in circumstances where it is required;
  • State that the tenant is not to be required to purchase any fixtures or fittings or pay any premium or key money in respect of the residential unit.

Even if these matters are not written in to the tenancy agreement, they shall be deemed to form part thereof. Furthermore, it is an offence to purport to include any provision which seeks to make void any contractual provisions which are inconsistent with the Law, or which seek to contract out of the Law's requirements.

What If The Dwelling Becomes Uninhabitable?

If a dwelling which is the subject of a residential tenancy agreement becomes uninhabitable (other than through the malicious act of the tenant) rent and other payments due under the agreement shall cease to be payable whilst the dwelling remains uninhabitable. Furthermore, a landlord cannot, without lawful reason, prevent the tenant from occupying and enjoying the dwelling or any part thereof.

Terminating A Tenancy Agreement

The Law replaces the provisions of the 1919 statute mentioned above with respect to the termination of periodic tenancies. A periodic tenancy is one which is for an indefinite period but can be terminated by a period of notice. Under the Law, such a tenancy may be terminated by the landlord on giving no less than three months' written notice of termination and by the tenant on giving no less than one month's written notice.

If a tenant breaches the terms of the residential tenancy agreement, under the Law, the landlord must serve notice of the breach on the tenant requiring the cessation within seven days of the offending conduct and/or the taking of reasonable measures to rectify the breach. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord may apply to the Court (being the Petty Debts Court) for an order terminating the agreement and evicting the tenant.

The Law clarifies the procedure for the eviction of tenants by the Viscount (a court officer). The abovementioned 1946 statute gives the Court power to grant stays of execution of eviction orders. The Law expands this and sets out matters that the Court must consider, being:

  • Whether any rent is outstanding;
  • Whether either party has breached the tenancy agreement;
  • Whether the party who committed the breach continued or repeated it, or took reasonable steps to remedy it; and
  • If a stay were ordered, where the balance of hardship would lies between the landlord and tenant.

The Court may also consider various factors relating to the history of the tenancy and the parties' circumstances, including the availability of other accommodation for the tenant.

It is hoped that, once coming in o force, the Law will encourage landlords and tenants to focus on the terms of their residential tenancy agreement so that each party has a good understanding of their rights and obligations thereunder. If successful, the standard of such agreements should rise, thus reducing the uncertainty and dispute which both landlords and tenants can face under the existing regime.

Footnote

1. Jersey in Figures, 2007 p.33, States Statistics Unit

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions