The Malta Independent 18 January 2019, Friday

Audio: Resorts in Gozo accepting illegal bookings for 15-year-olds

Therese Bonnici Sunday, 18 January 2015, 08:14 Last update: about 5 years ago

Accommodation resorts in Gozo are taking bookings of minors without asking for their age, this newspaper is informed. According to legislation, it is illegal for property owners to allow minors to stay in the residence, unless there is a consent form signed by the parent or legal guardian.

In February of each year, several Maltese youngsters make their way to the sister island to celebrate the famous carnival held in Nadur.  This year is no different. Among these are students as young as 15, who are planning to reside in farmhouses and apartments without a legal protector.

After receiving several complaints from parents, The Malta Independent carried out its own investigation, to check if accommodation owners are indeed asking for the age of the potential client.

This journalist called one of the resort facilities on the island and asked to book a place for the Carnival weekend. The person replying then asked the journalist whether the potential clients are students, to which the journalist answered yes. The journalist made it clear that the group will only be arriving in Gozo on Friday late afternoon, “after school was finished”. Age verification was not requested during the call.

Another resort however did ask for the age of the people wanting to book the place, and when the journalist said the group was made up of 15-year-olds only, we were told that the resort only accepts booking from people aged 18 or over unless all parents involved sign a consent form.

Property lawyer Robert Piscopo explained that by law, it is illegal for property owners to lease any property to minors, for whatever periods, and that when in doubt, the owner should ask for age verification. Dr Piscopo explained that should an accident happen, it is the owner who is responsible. If however, the parent or legal guardian gives his consent, then automatically the responsibility is shifted on the consent giver. 

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