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Outright ban on buy to let under debate in one part of the UK

It may not be a typical part of the country but on one of the Channel Islands there is now a debate about whether buy to let should be banned outright in a bid to take the heat out of the local sales market.

Jersey’s former housing minister Sam Mezec says expensive homes to buy - such as a one bed cottage now being marketed for £295,000 - would make first time purchasers lose hope.

Last month a report from island government’s housing division described the market as ‘not fit for purpose’ and that ‘ownership is increasingly out of reach for residents with average incomes’.


Now Mezec - who is a senator sitting in the island’s parliament - has told the local media: “We are focused more towards satisfying investors rather than people. The number of landlords has dramatically increased in recent years and the more landlords there are, the fewer opportunities there are for people to own their home.”

He continues: “This might mean tougher regulations like banning buy-to-lets in some developments and assigning a proportion of properties for first-time buyers.

“The fundamental problem is that Jersey’s housing market is an investors’ market. Homes are too often seen as a commodity. There are too few people in politics prepared to challenge the dynamic of the market and move away from it being profit-driven and instead address the issue of access to housing as a basic human right.”

He describes renting as “a miserable experience” making it hard for people to save for a deposit. 

He gives a personal example of what he believes is a problem facing first time buyers, saying: “My parents managed to buy a three-bedroom home and extend it to a four-bed home by the time they were 30. I am 30 now, with a university degree and rent. I have little-to-no prospect of being able to buy – certainly not on the scale that they were able to.”



Jersey’s rental regulations vary considerably from those of the mainland.

Last month we reported on Landlord Today that a consultation process was underway on Jersey about whether landlords should be banned from refusing to let to families.

The Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 currently protects people from discrimination on various grounds, including age; however, one article in the law allows discrimination in relation to the management of premises - meaning a prospective or existing tenant of residential property could be discriminated against if they have a child or children. 

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    295 sounds cheap to me--i bed flats in swi9 500000

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    Property in Jersey is expensive and banning BTL will not alter that. Where will people on lower income live if the rental market was reduced. If you can't afford to buy now it is doubtful that will change in the future.


    Have to imagine most sales in Jersey are tax dodgers anyway.

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    Poor little snowflake a university degree and no chance of buying a property, take a step back and look at yourself then you might just work out why you are a failure before it's too late, but at 30 I expect it is too late, I was on my second house renovation by then with my first child on the way.


    Its this sort of attitude that is only going to create greater problems for landlords in the future, because the larger generation rent grows the more pressure there is for govenrments to win their votes.

    Its not often the fecklessness of younger people that prevents them buying a home. There are a myriad of factors that I'm sure wouldn't have applied when you were 30.

    Lets start with massive net population increase over the last 20 years with nowhere near a commensurate level of homebuilding. That has driven both prices for rents and to purchase up, therefore those who have to rent until they can buy can put less money aside which is a diminishing proportion of the cost of saving up for a deposit.

    The general cost of living increases and wage stagnation also contribute to this. In Manchester, the average wage sits around the mid £20,000s mark, whilst house prices are reaching £200,000+, so a typical mortgage giving 4, at a push 5, times annual salary doesn't even make a dent. Theres still around a £50,000-£80,000 shortfall and if you think about how long it would take to save that up and the house price inflation continuing by the time you've saved that up the price has gone up another £50-100k. Its a non-starter.

    'Well, why not move somewhere more affordable?' - Possibly because we still need to have a job. Its great that properties in Blackpool cost a fraction of what they do in Manchester, but there aren't any jobs in Blackpool and you can't get a mortgage on the dole so its a pointless conversation.
    I might agree that plenty of people have useless university degrees that haven't given them access to good work, but the one who encouraged that was Tony Blair, and all those young people who have been affected by that man's disastrous legacy weren't old enough to have voted for him in the first place. Many people my age blame the older generations for Brexit and the Tories, I just think they've got a lot to answer for for electing that slimy charlatan!

    The way to fix it needs a threefold approach;

    - Build More and Fast
    - Fix the PRS, stop introducing overburdonsome admin and legislation because all those costs just get passed on to the tenants and drives rents up
    - Reform the mortgage industry to take a more practical approach to dealing with the transition from renting to buying (I'd start with having rent payments registered on credit profiles)

    Obviously there are more issues, but the reason why a lot of first time buyers can't get on the housing market is rarely them just being a 'failure'.


    James, I agree your '' threefold approach'' and also your comment regarding Mr Blair, that disgraceful man has a lot to answer for.


    James - prices in Bolton start at around £50000 and it's 23 minutes to manchester on the tram - are you really telling me that people can't save up £2500 during their late teens and twenties? Over ten years that's £2.41 per week each for a couple. Sure - your first house probably won't be in Chorlton or Altrincham but that's life and the only way to move up the ladder is to get on it.

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    Andrew so was I. I had built my first house & paid for before that. When I got married I carried her over the threshold with no Mortgage to pay and she is still with me, don’t know how she puts up with me.


    shes after the house? only joking!

  • girish mehta

    They Need to build more houses. Not to look for cheap solution. Housing is an issue because of government policies. Simply not building enough and looking for cheap vote grabbing solutions.
    Wages have not kept up over last decades.as employment and another laws have not kept with rest of economy, resulting difference in income ratio. House price were affordable with3.5 times you income in 80’s. to buy the house with that multiple now and the average wages need to be minimum of 60to 70k. Combination of wages not kept with inflation and failure of government policies. It is not going to resolve while the government does no not want to seriously understand the issue, it is not going to happen as the politicians are only looking for quick fix to get votes. And profit form their policies for themselves


    I’m curious as to Jersey’s residents’ levels of Nimbyism…?



    I don't agree. In the 70's we had to save at least 10% and more like 20% deposits since prices paid usually exceeded surveyor valuations on which the mortgage offer was based. Mortgages were rationed and everyone charged the same (high) interest rate, with no special deals, interest only or beyond 25 year options.

    Over the intervening 25 years we had to contend with interest rates soaring to over 15%, punitive penalties on missed payments, expensive surveyor and legal fees on all offers we made inckuding unsuccessful bids.

    The main difference then was that we took responsibility for our own futures, lived within our means, often saving partner's salary in full plus a bit of our own towards our deposit, no fancy cars, holidays, costalot coffees etc.

    My own children bought their first properties in their very early twenties, letting the bedrooms out to friends and using the lounge as a bed sit. Within 10 years they had also built up over £1 million property portfolios with my only contributions being setting an example in demonstrating hard work and financial common sense.

    Every generation has challenges but no generation has complained so loudly or so unjustly as the current woke snowflakes.


    I agree with Robert Brown.
    There is no need to build more house-plenty of houses are on sale. Just searching by properties for sale in London on zoopla comes up with over 10,000+ results reflecting that there are plenty of available homes.
    3,000+ in Manchester.

    Building more houses, and certainly ‘free’ social council houses is NOT the solution.

    Banning BTL, and foreign companies buying homes, as well as adjusting income:borrowing banking ratios to make it affordable for locals is a better approach.

    People need to learn to stop asking for ‘free’ housing except for certain categories eg veterans, disabled, and seniors.
    Other able bodied need to learn to work and save like the home owners (single parents, married couples et all) did in the past, and present times.

    In any country-there has to be enough land to build houses, and green spaces for natural environmental balance to avoid flooding by land absorption of water, earthquakes, and subsidence of structures. Ultimately U.K. (including Jersey) is a small island 🏝 with limited land mass and can not cope with unlimited homes without damaging the eco balance & risking it’s existence as a nation.
    Concrete jungles with more buildings will result in more rivers flooding, sea side buildings erosion, earthquakes related destruction until scientists find a way of better methods of protecting land from surrounding seas, retaining green belts and safety of all human beings in an island environment.

    Sam Mezec’s comments are spot on-but whether the rich 🤑 investors, and politicians will support it-remains to be seen. Best wishes.

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    My sister lives in Jersey and she says basically those who work in finance can afford to buy but those who work in other sectors generally can't. There is a very large finance sector in Jersey.

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    It is a small island there is no more suitable land to build. That is why property.is do high. There are lots of bungalows and people take roof off, build up a layer then put roof back on.

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    Hilarious! It’ll be the 20/30-something renters like this complaining bitterly that there isn’t anywhere to rent and that rents are ‘rocketing’! Then when there’s no investors and only homeowners bidding up the price they’ll blame each other for daring to buy! Keep it coming - you couldn’t make this nonsense up. Comedy gold!

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    I don’t believe there is a shortage of housing. I understand there are 600 for Sale in Wembley and 700 available to rent. Also new Flats Built to Rent sitting there, people want houses & Flats with gardens not high rise. Media hype about shortage according to them there are
    13 purchasers chasing each property. I see 8 properties for Sale in 2 adjacent Roads and near a Central & Piccadilly line stations. So only 3 viewed still no offers, no queue of 13 outside any property not alone each.

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    Terry I have a good one bed purpose built Flat it great nick, new heating system, full kitchen, full bathroom, large sitting room, double bedroom EPC band ‘C’ in Harrow I would love you to have it, you can have it for £295k no bull.

  • George Dawes

    So it begins ....

  • George Dawes

    They say we are over populated with only 5% of the uk actually built on ...

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    You say only 5% UK built on, don’t forget about the Height.

  • Bill Wood

    Am I a lone voice here? I think Sam Mezec is being very brave, and seems to have the Island's resident's interests at heart.
    If property investors like us are not allowed to buy on the Island, then the houses that do come up for sale, or are built, will be available exclusively to residents, and the prices will eventually fall to reflect what the residents can afford.


    In theory that’s the solution to reduce London’s (& all over U.K.) house prices as well by banning BTL investments from UK and overseas based owners. This will automatically reduce prices by supply/demand related economic market forces implications within 6-12 months, and allow more people to get on the property ladder.

    The suggestion of banning BTL though would upset many politicians, Royal family connections, and rich investors from Middle East, China, Russia, Japan, USA, EU, India etc.-especially when HMRC are allowing companies/spv to buy BTL resulting in an inflow of investment in U.K. (ironically many via Jersey based financial institutions using tax advantages).


    But you cannot accept a part of the UK and/or a free-market capitalist society being off-limits to certain people based on a single moment in time’s residence status…

    They also cannot rely on the huge economic benefits of, in large parts, a tourism industry, yet lock those tourists out in a way they wish to be involved.

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    Any mention of the billions contributed annually to HMRC by private LL’s.

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    Bill, so you say Sam is very brave, if you want to know what it would be like without private LL’s, then not too far back to look when there wasn’t any, like 1960’s when it was almost impossible to find somewhere to live and not everyone owned or could afford to buy a property.
    Don’t think property always increases every year, there has been several years when it decreased (2009 one for example) short memories.
    Without us the economy would collapse but another collapse imminent anyway, spare a thought for job losses and the millions coming off Furlough.

  • Bill Wood

    Jersey is a small area, and can be 'micro-managed' unlike the mainland.
    A ban on BTL can be brought in for a period of time, say 12 months, and can be reversed or extended depending on the outcome.
    Non-residants that already own property can of course retain it and rent it out to as holiday accomodation if they wish. Along with hotels and guest houses, the existing private holiday accomodation will allow the tourism industry to continue (post Covid).
    Stopping the growth of BTL on the island, not stopping it all together, seems a reasonable option.


    It made seem like a potentially reasonable option in theory, but every time control of a market is attempted, it fails. Have you never seen The Butterfly Effect?


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