New law would allow development applications on someone else’s land

If approved as it is, the new planning law resurrects the prospect of people applying for development on other people’s property without seeking their consent.

File photo.
File photo.

Fancy applying to develop other people’s land, without their consent? You may soon be able to.

According to the proposed planning law, one will no longer require the consent of the owner of a property to develop it. All that is needed is simply to inform the owner by registered letter.

If approved as it is, the new planning law resurrects the prospect of people applying for development on other people’s property without seeking their consent.

Moreover, the new law would also allow people to apply on public land without seeking the consent of the government.

This effectively turns the clock back to the pre-2010 era where developers could apply on other people’s property.

The present law clearly states that any applicant for development permission must certify to the Authority that: the applicant is the owner of the site or that he has notified the owner of his intention to apply by registered letter of which a copy has been received by the Authority, and that the owner has granted his consent to such a proposal, or that the applicant is authorised to carry out such proposed development under any other law or through an agreement with the owner.

Moreover the present law also states that if the applicant is not the owner of the site, but holds the site under a title of lease he or she must notify the government of his intention to apply by registered letter of which the Authority has received a copy.

The proposed law simply states that an applicant for a development permission must certify to the Planning Board that he is the owner of the site or that he has notified the owner of his intention to apply, by means of a registered letter, a notified copy of which is submitted with the application to the Planning Board in line with the procedures established by the Planning Board.

The Malta Developers Association, in submissions on the law made to the government, has objected to this major change, insisting that the obligation to seek the consent of owners must not be removed.


Architect Simone Vella Lenicker also described the change as an undesirable proposal. 


“The current system whereby the applicant must declare that he has obtained the owner’s consent to submit an application for development permission has cut out a significant amount of abuse. This should be retained,” she said.

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