The Malta Independent 20 June 2021, Sunday

PM Abela announces major reform to eradicate pre-1995 rents

Shona Berger Saturday, 27 February 2021, 11:13 Last update: about 5 months ago

As part of a major reform centred on pre-1995 rents, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that landlords of properties bound under pre-1995 rents will be able to claim up to 2% of the property’s market value in rent.

This reform means that property owners will not have the right to throw out tenants, thus nobody will end up without a roof over their heads, but owners will be given compensation for their property in accordance with principles established by the courts.

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Abela said that “the government will be announcing a new department that will assist tenants affected by the change and provide free legal advice if necessary. This will be done so that the tenant does not carry a weight which he cannot bear.”

During a press conference on Saturday, PM Abela together with the Minister for Social Accomodation Roderick Galdes announced reforms centred on pre-1995 rents with the aim of eliminating the growing risk of evictions which affects people living in households with pre-1995 rents.

Abela remarked that pensioners and social welfare beneficiares in housing bound pre-1995 rents will be provided with benefits covering their rental costs in full by the state, up to a maximum of €10,000 per year and per family.

In addition, tenants in full-time employment will pay a maximum of 25% of rental costs.

“This reform will allow hard working people to have more money in their pockets and be able to live a decent life with their families as we believe in quality of life as much as we beilieve in the economy,” he said.

For those people who live in high-value properties and their rent runs to more than the €10,000 per year limit will be given alternative residency by the state.

Abela explained that the rent will be established by the Rent Regulation Board and an architect will be appointed to value the property.

Minister Galdes said that “these reforms will affect alomst 10,000 families. thus it was vital that a balance was reached which provides justice and peace of mind.”

Back in 1995, one could enter into a contract to rent a property at a certain price, but that rental contract is automatically renewed year after year without the price being altered.

“That law has been succesfully challenged in local courts as well as in the European Court of Human Rights,” Abela said.

In addition, Abela remarked that it took the Nationalist government 10 years to do something about this situation and the reforms they did implement were a failure as it frustrated landlords even further and caused more uncertainity amongst tenants.

“We want to reassure people and never leave anyone alone as the pre-1995 rental solution we are providing today will help many families. This will be done by the government which will  carry most of the additional rental costs that families are expected to face as a result of the change,” he said.

The expenditure of such reforms will be of €1 million and this will increase year after year; €3 million in the second year and €5 million in the third year.

 

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