The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

Housing benefits on privately rented dwellings more than doubles across the board

Albert Galea Wednesday, 30 January 2019, 15:43 Last update: about 20 days ago

The housing benefit on privately rented dwellings has more than doubled across various categories of people as part of the implementation of an electoral and budgetary measure.

Speaking in a joint press conference, both Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and Parliamentary Secretary for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes said that the new benefit system would not only help people pay their rent, but it would help them live a better life after paying rent.

ADVERTISEMENT

Scicluna explained that the model will be similar to that used in Luxembourg, adding that it was one of many measures that the government had introduced since 2013 relating to the helping people with property.  He also reiterated that the government would not be putting a cap on rent prices, but said that, “like in every advanced country”, rental contracts had to be submitted and registered at the relevant authority.

The benefit is based on the annual income of the applicant, together with the rent being paid by them.  There are various categories of applicants who can benefit from the scheme, although there is a maximum annual income threshold for each category, after which the person is not eligible for the benefit.

There are a number of other criteria that one must meet to be eligible for the benefits; one must have entered into a contract of lease with the landlord covering at least six months or a contract of temporary emphyteusis not exceeding 21 years; one must be a Maltese or EU citizen, a person with refugee status, a person in possession of subsidiary protection, or a person with a long term residence status; in the case of a married couple, one of the spouses must be a Maltese or EU citizen; one must had to have been living in Malta for 18 consecutive months prior to the date of application; and that the property being rented is in a good state of repair and in a habitable condition.

Single persons will, under the new benefit system, receive €2,000 more annually than before (from a maximum of €1,600 before up to a maximum of €3,600 now), whilst two adults living in the same household without children will also receive a maximum of €3,600 per year – an increase of €1,700.

A household with a single parent with a child and a household made up of a couple and a child will be eligible for a maximum of €4,800 per year, an increase of €2,000, whilst there is an identical increase in the case of the benefit that a couple with two or more children can receive, taking the figure up to a maximum of €5,000.

There are also other additional benefits; households with a disabled member living there will be eligible for an extra €150, whilst families who have foster children living with them are also eligible for an additional €300.

Furthermore, single people coming out of the correctional facility, rehabilitation programs or foster institutes will be eligible for benefits up to the age of 28.

Applications for the new benefits will be opened in the coming days, and the benefits will be backdated to 1 January 2019.

 

  • don't miss