A CONSULTATION has been launched on draft legislation to ensure basic standards of decent accommodation in the island’s private rented sector.
The Landlord and Tenants (Private Housing) Bill 2013 will make it illegal to operate as a landlord unless you are registered and meet a set of minimum standards.
It aims to achieve a fair and reasonable balance between the rights of landlords and tenants.
A voluntary Landlord Registration Scheme is also being launched as a pilot for the scheme that will become mandatory under the new legislation.
Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK said: ‘Effective regulation of private rented housing is essential if existing and prospective tenants are to have confidence in private rented housing on the island.
‘This legislation is not about creating another layer of bureaucracy for landlords, it is about bringing together existing legislation and creating a set of minimum standards which landlords and their properties must meet. But it will give the department the power to take action against the small minority of irresponsible landlords whose properties do not achieve standards of basic decency.’
The new legislation will require landlords, who are not exempt, to be registered and for their rented dwellings to comply with minimum standards.
Landlords who do not themselves meet the personal requirements set out in the minimum standards are required to use a letting agent to manage their properties.
Mr Robertshaw added: ‘Alongside the consultation on the draft Bill my department is launching a voluntary Landlord Registration Scheme.
‘This pilot will give landlords the opportunity to register for the scheme voluntarily so that the process can be properly understood and tested before it becomes mandatory under the new Bill which, subject to Tynwald approval, we expect will come into operation from early 2014.’
More information and details on how to apply for the voluntary registration scheme can be found at: www.gov.im/socialcare/housing/vlrs.xml or by calling the Housing Division on 685187.
Homelessness charity Kemmyrk has worked closely with the department and has developed a set of model documents to assist landlords in the management of their tenancies. These include a model tenancy agreement and inventory. There is also useful information for tenants on their rights and responsibilities.
The public consultation will run for six weeks ending at 5pm on Friday March 22.