Private sector accommodation via agencies
Updated 12 February 2016
Words you may need to know
Entitled status - Someone who has lived in Jersey for 10 years . Can buy, sell or lease any property.Can work anywhere and doesn't need a licence to be employed
Licensed status - Someone who is an 'essential employee'.Can buy, sell or lease any property, apart from first time buyer restricted or social rented housing, in their own name if they keep their 'licensed' status. An Employer needs a licence to employ a 'licensed' person.
Entitled to work - Someone who has lived in Jersey for five consecutive years immediately before the date the card is issued, or is married to someone who is 'entitled', 'licensed', or 'entitled to work'. Can buy property jointly with an 'entitled' spouse / civil partner. Can lease 'registered' (previously 'unqualified') property as a main place of residence. Can work anywhere and doesn't need a licence to be employed
Registered status - Someone who does not qualify under the other categories. Can lease 'registered' property as a main place of residence.Employer needs a licence to employ a 'registered' person
Qualified accommodation - Can be leased/ rented by Entitled or Licensed or in the circumstance stated above
Registered accommodation - Can be leased/ rented by anyone
Consecutive - one after the other, uninterrupted
Commission - a fee paid to an agent
Retained - held back
Hospitality - tourism/ hotels / guest houses etc
Agriculture - farming / growing
Agency fee (viewing commission)
The agency fee is normally one week's rent. This must be paid as a deposit to the agency before an appointment to view is given. It is sometimes called a 'viewing fee'. When the accommodation is accepted this fee is kept by the agency as commission. You may be given a viewing contract, under which it is stated when the deposit will be refunded although it is possible that there might just be a notice on the wall of the agency which gives this information.
Once you have viewed the accommodation you should contact the agency straight away to say whether you want the accommodation, this is really important if you decide not to accept it. If the accommodation is not accepted the fee should be returned or you may be offered the chance to look at other suitable accommodation.
What happens if you accept the accommodation but then change your mind
If you accept the accommodation but then change your mind the viewing fee will not be refunded, the accommodation agency has carried out their side of the contract which was to find you accommodation which was acceptable.
If you are not sure about the accommodation you should not accept it.
What if I move into the accommodation at a future date
Some agencies have a clause in their viewing contract which states that if you rent the viewed accommodation within a fixed period of time then the viewing fee is due and steps will be taken to recover this through the Petty Debts Court if you refuse to pay.
Specimen viewing contract
A copy of a viewing contract is copied below. Please be aware that not all accommodation agencies will give you a contract, some might have a notice on the wall or even tell you when a refund is given. You should make sure that you understand when the viewing commission will be given back and when it will be retained.
Sample Viewing contract
For the avoidance of misunderstanding it should be noted that our responsibility for introducing tenants to landlords ends when the tenant informs us that he/she will be taking the accommodation and from that time the viewing commission is no longer refundable to the tenant. Any financial arrangements between the tenant and the landlord are entirely their business and failure to agree suitable terms one with the other for payment of rental and deposit will have no bearing on the viewing commission which will remain the property of this office.
It is therefore in your own interest to ensure that all financial arrangements with your prospective landlord, any necessary Housing Permits etc and your acceptance of the premises concerned are finalised before you notify us of your acceptance. Once you notify us we will retain the commission.
Please ensure that the landlord signs your viewing card whether or not you are taking the premises in order to obtain your refund.
Receipt of refund of viewing commission.
I .............................................. of ........................................have read and
understand the implications of the above warning, and that should I accept this refund of Viewing Commission having informed the agency that I will not be accepting the accommodation to which it refers. I would be liable to legal proceedings for recovery of the full amount of this Commission and costs if I then accept the viewed accommodation within six months of this receipt, without having informed the agency of my intention and do so without having paid the Viewing Commission for the introduction hereby acknowledged.
Property viewed ................................................ Registration Card No ...........................
Date ...................................... Signed ....................................................
What you should budget for when looking for accommodation
You will need to allow for a deposit and rent to be paid in advance and if using an accommodation agency their commission will need to be included in the budget. The deposit is often the same, or greater than, the amount of rental being asked. If the rental period is monthly the deposit is likely to be too.
How often should you check the accommodation agencies
You must check with the agencies as they do not usually tell you when rooms or accommodation become available.
Many landlords won't rent property to you unless they have references from former landlord/s and / or employers. The former landlord to say that you paid the rent on time and kept the accommodation in good condition and the Employer to say you are in regular employment and can pay the rent.
Some employers can offer accommodation, this is normally within the hospitality or agricultural industries.
For employment within the hospitality industry you can contact:
Jersey Recruitment Agency See 6.8.10.L6
Availability of accommodation
Accommodation is more difficult to find between Easter and September as that is when most seasonal workers are in the island. There is normally plenty of accommodation available in the winter months - 'Winter Lets' of self catering accommodation etc.