The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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Parliament discusses bill which establishes agency to regulate property market

Monday, 24 June 2024, 18:22 Last update: about 22 days ago

Justice Minister Jonathan Attard presented the second reading of a bill which establishes the Property Market Agency, which will serve to regulate the property market and protect real estate agents, property consultants and brokers, and property intermediaries.

Attard on Monday addressed Parliament on the bill which proposes that a regulatory body known as the Property Market Agency be established which regulates property intermediaries' activities in the property marker.

The bill also proposes that workers in the sector would be licensed, as well as create standards for brokerage and related services in the property sector.

Attard said that this bill provides for reorganisation of the sector, and is to submit proposals and recommendations to government on national policy with regards to intermediaries in the property market, considering Malta's situation and requisites from time to time.

He said the agency would participate in any discussions on planning development and economic policies, as well as surveillance on the property market either directly, or by commissioning professional studies.

The agency would also organize and promote educational campaigns related to the property market, particularly with regards to consumer protection in the market.

Attard said the agency would be comprised of a Board and a Directorate, with the legal representative of the agency being the Chairperson, yet the Board can appoint the CEO or one of the members of the Directorate to act on behalf of the agency in any judicial proceeding.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Board is to be appointed by the Minister and has all the functions of the Chairperson in his absence. The members of the Board are to be appointed for a three-year term, with the chance of reappointment.

Attard said that the bill would benefit all those who sell, and those who buy property, as well as the market itself.

PN MP Stanley Zammit said that while the PN will be voting in favour of government's bill, the discussion should also pertain the value added to property, as well as the high prices of property all around the island.

He said that the bill needs to be refined as much as possible, so that what is on paper can truly become a reality, whereby there is less bureaucracy, less time wasting and increase peace-of-mind for individuals, as well as increase the quality of property.

Zammit continued that the bill must give priority to the aspects of increased knowledge and studies about the sector, to truly improve the quality of the property market.

He said that government has resorted to cheap labour on the development sector, without a real plan, leading to "ugly and inferior buildings," and high prices.

Lands Minister Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, who initially worked on the bill, said that when the agency is established, he is convinced that government can proceed with devising a bill proposing clarity on the responsibilities of property owners on the care of the buildings they own, especially when the structure is in a dangerous state. 

The bill was voted through to committee stage.

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