The owner of Marsa stables who was recently found to be illegally housing over 80 migrants and making a tidy profit in the process will only get a slap on the wrist, Lovin Malta has been informed.
The premises were raided last week by Planning Authority officials and police, with the PA stating that the stables had been illegally converted to house foreign workers in inhumane, unsanitary and significantly overcrowded conditions.
The migrants said they each paid €100 a month in rent and, since there were at least 80 of them, this means the landlord stood to gain €8,000 a month by letting them use his stables.
However, a police spokesperson confirmed that no action will be taken as it is not a crime to illegally house people.
Indeed, police officers were only on site to verify the immigration position of the residents, with interrogations proving that none of them were living in Malta illegally.
The Planning Authority had in 2017 approved the change of use of the stables into four residential units, but issued an enforcement notice on 1st July “after taking into account the provisions of the development plans and other substantial considerations”.
The PA gave the landlord 16 days to get in line with the permit, and its enforcement officials swooped in once the deadline was up.
However, it won’t be fining or suing the landlord and will merely be forwarding him the bills once the police sections involved in the raid issue the PA with their respective invoices.
It is unknown at this stage how much the bills will cost.
A PA spokesperson explained that administrative fines have been successfully challenged in court in the past, with the judiciary ruling that only courts can impose fines.
And the PA won’t be suing the landlord as it is internal procedure not to instigate legal action against a person before their second infringement.
This case is just one of several that emerged in recent months involving migrant workers being housed in poor conditions.
Migrants who were evicted from the Marsa stables told Lovin Malta that they have been priced out of the local rental market, with one Malian man warning that many Maltese landlords refuse to rent out their properties to black people.
Police raided stables in Marsa early this morning… finding around 80 migrants living in squalid conditions
Posted by Lovin Malta on Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Many of them want to live in the Marsa area to, because it is where construction companies travel to every day to recruit daily workers.
Indeed, in their desperation for a roof over their heads, some migrants have even taken to breaking back into the stables they had been evicted from.
Cover photo: Left: Police and PA officials raiding the stable earlier this week (Photo: PA); Right: The owner of the stables speaks to ONE after the raid (Photo: ONE)