An action plan seeking to tackle the issue of vacant homes has been published by the Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy David Warr, today.
The Action on Vacant Properties report outlines the objectives for managing vacant homes in Jersey, provides data on the estimated number of vacant dwellings in the Island, and six key actions the Minister is undertaking to address the issue.
Read the full report here.
The six actions outlined in the report, in summary, include:
• Action 1 – collection of anonymous vacancy data through parish rate declarations in 2023and progressing a law change to enable this to be collected formally in the future
• Action 2 - set up a community-led reporting mechanism for Islanders to report homes they believe are vacant or in a very poor condition which is harming the environment. This will be supported by the new Empty Homes Service to be established in January 2023
• Action 3 - work in partnership with the Minister for Environment to more proactively manage land condition and make better use of existing homes in the Island
• Action 4 – help His Majesty’s Receiver General to identify vacant and ownerless properties and bring them back into active use
• Action 5 - support States-owned entities in the purchase and redevelopment of vacant properties, whilst encouraging the development of local skills and meeting wider Government objectives for construction innovation and carbon neutrality
• Action 6 - establish an Empty Homes Service to provide advice to Islanders, monitor and analyse demand and policy development, and make referrals to the Regulation Directorate and HM Receiver General
The action plan highlights that law drafting instructions for the creation of new powers, invested in the Minister for Housing and Communities, to manage empty dwelling through Empty Dwelling Management Orders remain under consideration. The plan also highlights that compulsory purchase action for vacant homes may be pursued, where all other options have been exhausted and the public interest in acquiring a given property can be proven.
There are two tax options outlined in the report which would either introduce an additional charge on empty properties within the existing Rates (Jersey) Law 2005, or introduce a new annual tax levied against vacant homes. The Minister is not presently pursuing these options but will revisit them should there become evidence that they will be effective in helping to bring empty homes back into use.
Minister for Housing and Communities, Deputy David Warr, said: “I am pleased that the Action on Vacant Properties report has today been published, outlining the actions that I will be taking to identify empty homes in Jersey and help get them back into use as quickly as possible.
“I’ve been absolutely clear that making better use of the homes we already have in the Island is vital. I fully intend to take decisive action to address the vacant homes issue, I’ll be closely monitoring the success of the actions I am taking and will be progressing further action if necessary.
“In my Ministerial plan, I pledged to listen to Islanders about the challenges they face, and so through the creation of an Empty Homes Service, I commit to listen to all Islanders and work with them to get homes back into use as quickly as possible.
“While there is no easy one-size fits all solution, I have every confidence that, with the support of Ministers and the backing of the States Assembly, these actions will make a positive difference in the Island.
Government of Jersey News Release