Addressing the Housing Crisis
- Declare a 'Housing Crisis' in the first week of office
- Introduce European-style 'rent stabilisation'
- Legislate to make tenancies open-ended by default
- Establish a Rent Tribunal
- Establish a landlord licensing scheme
- Base social housing rents on earnings rather than a comparison with the private sector
- Require landlords who sell their properties to offer it to the sitting tenant in the first instance
- Require private developers to reserve a proportion of the homes they build for first-time-buyers
- Cease using publicly-owned land to build homes for investors, and require all of them to be used for social rent, first-time-buyers and sheltered housing
- Establish a fund to support first-time-buyers purchase their homes through shared equity
- Introduce an Empty Property Tax
- Implement the recommendations of the Homelessness Strategy
Reform Jersey will provide better protection and support for renters and aspiring homeowners alike and seek to end the growing issue of homelessness in our society.
Jersey faces a serious housing crisis which threatens our future prosperity. The cost of housing is the biggest contributing factor for pushing people into relative poverty. Many business leaders have provided testimonies on the effect the crisis is having on their ability recruit and retain talented staff. Many young Jersey people have bravely spoken out about their intentions to leave because they have lost hope of ever being able to own their home. Jersey’s homelessness charities have revealed that an increasing number of their clients are in full-time work but cannot afford a home. This cannot go on and must be resolved as a matter of urgency.
Other political parties have stated their intention to solve the crisis by merely building more homes. But the cause of the crisis is more complex than simply the number of homes in Jersey. The government must adopt a much bolder approach and be prepared to challenge vested interests.
We have published a comprehensive ‘Housing Crisis Action Plan’ which will be presented to senior civil servants immediately after the new government is appointed. We pledge that we will officially declare a housing crisis in the first week of office and begin implementing our action plan.
Our plan will see European-style regulations brought in to provide greater control on the affordability of rental homes in the private sector. We will introduce a Rent Tribunal and legislate to provide for open-ended tenancies, so tenants can have long-term security in their homes, knowing they cannot be forced out without good reason. We will also introduce a social housing rents system based on affordability, rather than a percentage of the market value. We will establish a landlord licensing scheme (covering all sectors) to ensure that homes must meet minimum standards on health and safety before being rented out.
We will assist Islanders in achieving their aspirations to own their homes by increasing the supply of affordable homes exclusively for first time buyers. We will do this by increasing the proportion of homes which are reserved for first time buyers on private developments and by ensuring that all the homes built on publicly owned land must be for affordable or sheltered housing instead of buy-to-let. This will include reviewing the current proposals for South Hill and the Waterfront. We will also investigate measures to reduce foreign ownership of residential properties in Jersey. We will legislate to require landlords who choose to sell their properties to offer them to the sitting tenant in the first instance. For those tenants who wish to buy their home but cannot secure a mortgage for the full value of the property, we will set up a fund to allow them to secure it through shared equity with Andium Homes. This fund can be topped up through the proceeds of an Empty Homes Tax and higher rates of Stamp Duty for investment properties.
We will implement the recommendations of the Homelessness Strategy and provide support to those who face a crisis which leads them to losing their home.