A final surge in signatures calling for the States to consider setting limits on rents has broken the target needed, signalling success for the campaign to debate a rent cap on the island.
The online petition attracted 5,298 signatures in the six months leading up to the closing date on 14th February, becoming the first official online petition to exceed the 5,000 target of signatures required in the region to trigger debate by the Assembly. The date of the debate is yet to be set. The petition, which was set up by islander Jan McAllister, argues that a law to limit rents is needed in Jersey. McAllister states,
“Rents are far too high. Rents should be around 30 per cent of people's salaries. The present rents are causing rent distress in individuals and businesses to close.”
The government had to make a written response to the petition when 3,000 signatures were collected in September 2018.
Then, Housing Minister Sam Mezac agreed rents were too expensive on the island, but believed a cap would not work.
“The government must pursue policies that will improve the standard of living for islanders, including making housing more affordable across all sectors,” said the minister.
“Legislating to cap rents at a particular level is just one option, however it has shown limited success when it has been used previously in Jersey and in other jurisdictions. There are many other options to improve the affordability and quality of housing that must be considered too.”
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for rent control in the capital, arguing that buy to let rents eat up too much income for tenants.