Updated 26 October 2016
Words you may need to know
Landlord - the person who owns the property is called the landlord. Sometime the landlord is a company, a housing trust or it may the States of Jersey under Andium Homes
Tenant - a tenant is someone who rents or leases a property from the landlord. This should not be confused with a lodger who shares accommodation with a tenant or owner
Responsibilities- these are duties that need to be carried out. They may be about how the property should be kept or who pays for what
Exterior - this is the outside of the building and may also include paving, garages or outbuildings
Communal areas - these are areas around the property that others might share such as stairways, landings, gardens, washing areas etc
Interior- this is the inside of a property
Fixtures and fittings - include built in units, wardrobes, kitchens, light fittings, curtain poles and indeed anything that is not bare floor and walls ( although it would include floor coverings)
De-humidifiers - this is a machine which takes moisture out of the atmosphere which can then be poured away. They use electricity so can increase your electricity bill
Landlords and tenants responsibilities
1 Landlords have a responsibility to maintain their properties so that they are wind and watertight, and to keep in good repair the exterior and communal areas of the premises.
2 Tenants are normally required to keep the interior of the premises and all fixtures and fittings clean and in good decorative repair and condition.
3 As there may be specific requirements attached to a tenancy, any written lease should be referred to before the client is advised to take action.
Notifying the landlord
4 If a tenant is unhappy with the condition of her/his accommodation, s/he should draw the matter to the attention of the landlord, or her/his agent and ask for matters to be put right. If the problem has not been rectified within a reasonable period of time, the tenant should submit her/his complaint in writing to the landlord (keeping a copy for further reference)
If it is later proved that the accommodation becomes uninhabitable through no fault of the tenant (for instance after involvement by Environmental Health) then the tenant may not have to pay full rent. Advice should be obtained on this matter before reducing rent payments.
Causes of poor housing conditions/damp
5 A lot of letting accommodation in Jersey utilises the older properties which have inherent building problems such as rising damp and porous walls. Damp problems may also be exacerbated by poor ventilation where windows have to remain closed all day for security reasons. If dampness results from condensation produced by steam from cooking, drying laundry and bathrooms, then ventilation by extraction can be very successful. De-humidifiers are also available from electrical stores. Tenants could ask for these measures to be installed by the landlord to alleviate damp.
See information provided by the Environmental Health Department entitled Safe as Houses and Condensation advice, available for tenants, landlords, agents and home owners;
Environmental Health Officers
6 If the problem with the accommodation is likely to be injurious to the long term health of the tenants, the Environmental Health Officer for the district could be contacted at Environmental Health Department, Maison Le Pape, telephone 445808.
9 As a last resort, if all previous avenues have failed, the tenant can seek legal advice (on Legal Aid, if appropriate) to ascertain whether the landlord has breached the terms of the lease, and require him to rectify the condition of the property under an Act of the Court.