Partit Demokratiku MP Marlene Farrugia has offered her grown-up daughter’s bedroom for free to a Gozitan student who faces eviction after her landlord practically doubled the rent overnight.
“I do not know you but you are my responsibility because I am a law-maker (albeit a useless one) in the Parliament of Malta and Gozo,” Farrugia said after a post by the Gozitan student went viral on social media. “My children are grown up or studying abroad. I have an extra room and I am offering you free accommodation. Please text me.”
The Gozitan student yesterday compared the state of Malta’s property market to Brazilian favelas after the landlord of the Msida apartment she was living in suddenly raised the monthly rent from €950 to €1600 starting from September.
“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.’
A street in Msida. Photo taken in September 2017
“€1000 for a pigeon-hole in a block of 20+ inappropriately ventilated ‘flats’? 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, the front main door left open and you hear that the adjacent flat has just been broken into. Just like favelas, really. But its 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 too.”
The government is set 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.