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No-children advert ban ‘toothless legislation’

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BANNING landlords from saying in adverts that properties are not suitable for children is a waste of time, according to an industry spokesman.

Guernsey Private Residential Landlords Association chairman Jeff Guilbert did not think that the States vote to prevent his members from stipulating no children when they advertise a property to let would achieve anything. (28435190)

On Friday, the States voted 18-15 to back an amendment to the General Housing Law, brought by Deputy Emilie McSwiggan and seconded by Deputy Dawn Tindall, to make the change by 18-15.

Guernsey Private Residential Landlords Association chairman Jeff Guilbert said he could not see what it would achieve.

‘This is toothless legislation that will not address a perceived problem,’ he said.

It would waste the time of both the landlord and tenant.

A landlord could show a family around a property they did not wish to rent to children then choose tenants without children, thereby wasting everybody’s time.

The General Housing Law title in itself was a misnomer as 90% of it was directed at landlords, said Mr Guilbert.

Figures provided with the amendment showed 86 properties at that time were available to rent.

‘Of these only eight said they would categorically not take children, which is 10% of the total.’

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Therefore 90% of the properties would take or consider children providing the accommodation was suitable.

The GPRLA had asked the States for a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to the whole thing, according to Mr Guilbert, and all they had got was the stick.

‘Debt recovery legislation for a start is woeful,’ he said. ‘If we need to evict somebody from a property we have to take them to the Royal Court.

‘We have to pay advocates’ fees, which can be £5,000 to £10,000, and the debtor is entitled to legal aid.’

The law was the latest in a long list of directives, restrictions and law changes from the government or its controlling agencies that had impacted on a landlord’s ability to operate their business in a successful and profitable way.

Given the chance, he said, a lot of landlords would get out of the industry and invest their capital in other options with less hassle and interference from government.

Nigel Baudains

By Nigel Baudains
News reporter

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