Close to 10,000 properties across Malta and Gozo are subject to controversial pre-1995 rent laws, Minister Roderick Galdes has revealed.
New figures tabled in parliament show that there are roughly 9,700 of such properties around Malta. The largest number of pre-1995 rental properties can be found in Birkirkara (748), followed by Sliema (659), Hamrun (651), Qormi (511), Gzira (466), and Paola (445).
In Malta, some landlords remain contractually bound by rental contracts entered into before 1995 when the government liberalised the rental market. That meant they often had to charge rent that’s much below the market value, sometimes as low as €200 a year.
Prime Minister Robert Abela announced major reforms to the pre-1995 rent agreements earlier this year.
Under new changes, landlords can not throw out tenants living under pre-1995 rent agreements, but they may now claim up to 2% of the property’s market value in rent.
Abela said that he hopes the changes will ensure that no one ends up without a roof over their head and that landlords receive fair compensation A new department will now be set up to assist tenants and provide free legal advice to them if necessary.
Any pensioners or social welfare beneficiaries in households bound to pre-1995 agreements will be given benefits to cover their rental costs in full by the government, up to €10,000 a year per family.
Any tenants that enjoy full-time employment will only pay a maximum 25% of total rent costs. Anyone living in a higher value property with a rent valued at over €10,000 a year will be provided with an alternative home by the government.
Moving forward, an architect will be appointed to establish the value of a property, and all rent will be overseen by the Rent Regulation Board.
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