The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Vacant property scheme launched, aimed at replenishing social housing supply

Helena Grech Tuesday, 20 February 2018, 12:35 Last update: about 3 years ago

Government has launched a property scheme whereby owners of vacant properties can receive a grant of up to €25,000 to refurbish their home and commit themselves to renting out that property to the Housing Authority for a period of ten years.

This scheme is aimed at tackling the problem of vacant and derelict properties, while also increasing the stock of social housing available to vulnerable people, Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Roderick Galdes said at a press conference this morning.

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He announced that the scheme will be lasting one year as from today (20 February 2018) but does not exclude suggesting extending the scheme if a positive response is received.

Galdes proudly exclaimed that this is the first government to begin addressing the problem of vacant properties, saying that their presence does not favour the owner, the property market or society in general.

A property-owner may avail themselves of the scheme should their property be vacant for a minimum of one year, and newly built properties will not be eligible for the refurbishment funds. The property must be a minimum of 30 years old; any properties built within the last 30 years will not be eligible for the funds.

Works covered by the grant money include extraordinary structural changes, water and electricity works, works on drainage and plumbing, permanent solutions for humidity, works on the facade, and refurbishment of bathrooms, tiles, apertures and internal doors.

The Housing Authority will only rent the property from the owner should it be refurbished to “acceptable living standards,” Galdes said. The price of which the property will be rented to the authority will be determined by both parties, based on a set of criteria, and after an agreement is reached, the authority will in turn allocate the homes to people eligible for social housing.

The rental payment to the owner of the property by the authority will be determined against the specifications, locality and the sum of money granted for refurbishment. In addition, rental payments will increase by two per cent annually.

Galdes said this is the fourth scheme launched to address the issue of social housing since the start of this legislature, adding that the social housing construction project will see the building of 680 apartments in around 16 different sites.

All relevant conditions and the application may be found online on socialaccommodation.gov.mt

 

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