A Gozitan student who was forced out of her Msida apartment after her landlord practically doubled her rent overnight has warned that Malta’s property market is approaching the state of Brazilian favelas.
“I don’t often resort to Facebook posts, but what we’ve come to is truly beyond belief,” the student said. “One fine morning you get a call from your landlord telling you that he’ll be raising the price from €950 to €1600 a month in Msida, ‘just ‘cos you know, that’s what everyone is doing. I’d be a fool not to.’ Gritting your teeth, you start calling property agents, because you’re a University student hailing from Gozo and you desperately need a room – or even half of one.”
“But the lady on the other end tells you, ‘Dear, all prices for a two-bedroom are around €1,000 at the moment. And please, call back in September. We have nothing available right now.’”
After assessing her options, the student realised that €1,000 a month can currently only get you a pigeon-hole in a 20+ ventilated block of flats where the conditions are far from adequate.
“Passively inhaling cigarette smoke from all other tenants in the block, clothes smelling of curry, waking up to the sounds of your neighbour on the loo, front main door left open and you hear that the adjacent flat has just been broken into. Just like living in favelas, really.”
“But it’s not Rio de Janeiro. It’s Malta – a country with regulations and laws, supposedly. Yet, we’re increasingly getting concrete jungles, and heftier prices for them. Hefty prices for living in a place where you’re constantly inhaling exhaust from the traffic jams outside, where the sky-line is masked with cranes, and noise pollution from jack-hammers all around is commonplace.:
“Is this what ‘L-Aqwa Zmien’ equates to? Are these called high standards of living? Is this how the government spurs Gozitan University students on?
Is MEPA enjoying witnessing the destruction of ‘Din l-Art Helwa?’
Is endorsing greedy landlords who don’t even pay tax normal? Dear Ministers, can you show compassion? Do you have solutions?”
The student’s sobering Facebook post comes as the government prepares to launch a White Paper on housing, which Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said will stabilise the rental market and clamp down on rent abuse but without state intervention in the market.