The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

Shocking sentence by Judge Lawrence Mintoff

Sunday, 12 May 2019, 09:16 Last update: about 6 months ago

The sentence handed down by Judge Lawrence Mintoff regarding the leases of properties contracted prior to 1995, is quite shocking, to say the least! The right of property owners  to charge whatever rent they may now  wish to impose on their tenants seems to have been the only criteria considered by the court, irrespective of whether or not the tenant would be able to afford such rent! Indeed, while the tenant involved in this case is paying €250 per annum plus the cost-of-living increase, as laid down by law, the court expert’s valuation is that this tenant should now be paying €1,000 per month, valued at current rental market prices!

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Has the Judge considered what his sentence would mean for tenants of similar properties whose income is just a pension? Do such people not have any right to continue having a roof over their head? Has the court no ‘social soul’ at all when considering the sentence to be handed down? Where will such people go to live?

The owners of the said property – like all other owners of property in our country – have seen the value of their property skyrocket during the last few years. So even if the money is not in their bank account already, it exists in their property. And the value of their property keeps increasing. In other words, what Judge Mintoff’s decision means, is that the rich (property owners) not only get richer by the continuing rise in property prices but also by the scandalous rents which owners of property are charging today!

I wait to see whether those who preach about the need to protect vulnerable people – and I believe that elderly people who mostly live in similar rented properties – will have anything to say about this shocking decision of Judge Lawrence Mintoff.

 

Eddy Privitera

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