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17 Organisations Have Teamed Up To Demand Rent Regulation In Malta

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A proposal for rent regulation in Malta has been released by a group of 17 Maltese organisations. The document outlines a model for rent regulation in a country where property and rent prices have spiralled out of control.

“Unlike most European Union countries, Malta has no effective rent regulation system in place. This means that tenancies are unstable and rent prices increase without any consideration to the impact on individuals, society and the economy,” the group said.

They also said that vulnerable groups such as the elderly, low-income groups, and youths would be hit the hardest.

The group presented a list of rent regulation proposals that they believed were successful in other European countries and applied them to the local setting.

They are guided by 6 main principles

  • The fundamental human right of persons to adequate housing and to have a place they can call home
  • Enhancing stability and peace of mind for tenants and landlords, and avoiding situations of precariousness
  • Establishing rights and obligations for both tenants and landlords
  • Increasing the availability of long-lets for people who want to settle in a particular unit as tenants.
  • Retaining the landlords’ right to both set an initial price as well as increase the rentprice over the years, whilst ensuring that this happens in a regulated manner
  • Incentivising the placement of empty properties on the rental market
Sliema Malta  Overcrowding

They have a new tax system for leases

There would be four types of leases under the group’s model. It incentivises longer lets for people who want to settle.

Short-lets: 0 to 2 years – taxed at 25%

Medium-lets: 2 to 5 years – taxed at 20% 

Long-lets: 5 to 10 years – taxed at 15%, minus 1% for each additional year up to 10 years

Longer-lets: More than 10 years – taxed at 10% minus 0.5% for each additional lease-year, up to a reduction of 5% tax

They also want to tax empty property

There would be an annual tax on empty properties under their proposal. Properties that remained empty for over half of the year would also be taxed annually.

Abandoned House

Contracts would have new rules

The proposal creates a legal framework regulating the drawing up of contracts and the prices therein:

  • Landowners caught renting without a valid contract would be sanctioned 
  • Tenants who report landowners for illegalities should be protected from eviction
  • A landlord cannot annually increase the rent price by more than the cost-of-living-increase percentage 
  • When a new contract is drawn up the price cannot be raised more than 10% of the last monthly rent
  • Deposit money could be deposited at a public entity, and not the landlord. If the landlord wants to take a tenant’s deposit he/she will need to provide ample evidence for doing so
  • All contracts should be registered in a national registry 

And there should be anti-discrimination protections and a tenant’s union 

People should be legally protected against discrimination based on personal characteristics such as disability, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief in any part of the renting process. 

There should also be a tenant’s union that is recognised by law. 

A Rent Price Index would also be established

To avoid abuse, the government would establish a Rent Price Index that lists prices in different areas and for different classes of property. Landowners would need to input their property’s details into the national registry. 

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The seventeen organisations are:

Moviment Graffitti

Alleanza Kontra il-Faqar 

Forum Komunita’ Bormliża 

Malta Tenant Support 

Malta Humanists Association 

The Millennium Chapel 

Żminijietna – Voice of the Left 

aditus Foundation 

Malta Gay Rights Movement 

The Critical Institute 

Spark 15 

Mid-Dlam għad-Dawl 

Women’s Rights Foundation 

African Media Association Malta 

Koperattiva Kummerċ Ġust 

Integra Foundation 

Third World Group Malta

Do you think Malta needs more rent regulation?

READ NEXT: Malta’s Rent Crisis: Living Nightmares From A Booming Island

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