Prime Minister Robert Abela will tomorrow present Cabinet members and MPs with his plan to address the longstanding problem concerning pre-1995 rental laws.
Addressing a political activity at Villa Bighi, Abela pledged the reform will address decades of injustice and ensure that no one currently living in a property covered by old rental laws ends up homeless.
“We won’t allow anyone to end up homeless, we won’t burden vulnerable people with rent costs they cannot afford, and landlords will be fairly compensated for their properties, as per the principles established by the courts,” he said, adding that a new unit within the Housing Authority will be set up to oversee the implementation of these reforms.
“In the past, if you had to ask me if something scares me, I’d have responded that I knew this reform would have to take place one day. Now I see it as an opportunity to show how the government is convinced of its social soul and is ready to implement reforms.”
Several landlords remain contractually bound by rental contracts entered into before 1995 when the government liberalised the rental market.
This means they have to charge rent that’s miles below the market value, sometimes as low as €200 a year.
The Constitutional Court has declared that forcing landlords to rent properties below their market value is unconstitutional and has been ruling in favour of these landlords on a case-by-case basis for several years.
Unable to pay the market value of their properties, several tenants, many of whom are elderly, have ended up evicted.
Successive PN and PL governments have been reluctant to tackle the situation holistically, instead preferring to deal with each evicted person on a case-by-case basis. The government has recently introduced compulsory mediation to avoid lengthy and costly lawsuits in these cases.
Are you looking forward to this reform?