MINISTERS are discussing a further easing of restrictions affecting the rental market, according to the Housing Minister.
Earlier this month, Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles told the States that new 12-month work permits – increased from nine months – would be introduced to help combat staff shortages in the hospitality sector.
Housing Minister David Warr said that he was currently involved in further meetings with Deputy Miles and Social Security Minister Elaine Millar over the wider housing implications for registered workers, who can lease premises on the basis of permits held by their employers.
Deputy Warr said he was not able to give details of what he described as ‘policy under discussion’ but said that he was currently involved in talks to try to ensure that the workforce ‘was given greater access to rental accommodation’.
‘We are currently reviewing the situation for those with zero to five years’ residency with our eyes open. What we don’t want to do is to create massive pressure but we can’t let this drift on for any length of time,’ he said, adding that they hoped to have reached a conclusion within the next three to six months.
However, the minister stressed that regulation of access to the rental market was only part of the picture, and that stimulation of the supply side of the market – through building new homes, bringing vacant properties back into use and encouraging the use of spare rooms – was equally important.
He said that the policy to try to bring back into use some 900 vacant properties was already raising practical issues that the government had not previously had to consider.