Deputy wants to end landlords' "no kids" rule

A deputy has published a proposition to change the law in order to prevent landlords from discriminating against families with children, which will be debated in the States Assembly on 20 March

The issue of restrictive practices by landlords was mentioned in the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) which quoted it as "a factor in the lack of accommodation for families."

In the report accompanying his proposition, Deputy Tadier notes: "Some will question whether it is right to compel a landlord not to discriminate against children. From my conversations with landlords, most do not have a problem with families. When reasons are given for not wanting children, they normally fall into three categories: (i) the property is not suitable for children; (ii) children are noisy; (iii) children cause damage.

"The legitimacy of these reasons are questionable and need to be tempered by the understanding that whilst the landlord might see their property primarily as an asset, all housing must be seen, objectively, as a social commodity, access to which must be safeguarded by government."

The deputy explains that anyone can cause damage to a property, not just children and this is why security deposits are taken. "Any landlord operating a sensible model should factor in wear and tear and set aside funds for maintenance."

In the same manner, Deputy Tadier says that the problem of noisy neighbours is not restricted to those with children. He explains: " In my experience, they normally relate to rowdy (adult) parties, domestic disputes and structural inadequacy where day-to-day living causes sonic disturbances." 

However the deputy recognises that the reason for properties not being suitable for children is the only one "which might hold some credibility." He adds: "It may well be that it is something that can be easily rectified, but if there are legitimate reasons, then there should be scope for the Minister to provide an exemption for properties which are unsuitable for children and which cannot easily be made suitable. However, this should be the exception rather than the rule."

The proposition to bring forward the necessary legislation "to prevent discrimination against prospective tenants who are domiciled with, and have legal custody of, a child under the age of 18 years," will be debated in the States on 20 March.