PN commits to reversing, reimbursing social housing rent increases

Announcing the Nationalist Party’s housing proposals, leader Simon Busuttil promised that a Nationalist government would reverse increases in rent for social housing and pay back the difference

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil
Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil

Report by Stefan Paul Galea

The Nationalist Party will reverse the increase in rent for social housing and will pay back the increment that was already been paid, PN leader Simon Busuttil said this morning.

Addressing a press conference in Floriana, Busuttil said that increasing rent for people living in social housing amounted to taxing poverty.

“The people looking to live in social housing has increased to 3,500. Due to the rise in rent, many middle class people are facing poverty. Joseph Muscat has raised the rent of those living on social housing, who by definition do so because of poverty. Increasing their rent meaning taxing poverty,” Busuttil said.

“I am not only committing to reverse this increase, but to pay back the difference that has been paid,” he added.

Busuttil added that a Nationalist government would reintroduce the scheme whereby the Housing Authority would rent accommodation from the private sector to offer it as subsidised social housing.

Furthermore, the Nationalist Party would increase the subsidy for those who rent accommodation from the private sector themselves, Busuttil said. “We will revise the subsidy scheme so more people can benefit from the government subsidy, as well as increasing the subsidy itself.”

Busuttil also promised to remove the 5% tax on rental property to landlords who rent their property at a fixed rate for 10 years to those on the social housing waiting list.

Pledging to pay back those whose land was expropriated and were still waiting for compensation, Busuttil said the Nationalist government would use the profits made by the Lands Authority. “The compensation will not be valued by the marked at the time of expropriation, but by today’s market,” he said.

While retaining the current administration’s incentive for first-time buyers, that of exempting tax on first property up to the first €150,000, the Nationalist Party would extend this measure to divorced or separated couples.

“It is true that in the case of these people this would be their second property, but they are moving after separating from their spouse. Therefore, they should be considered first-time buyers,” Busuttil said.

He said that the costings will be published soon, although these could not be precise as these were related to the number of people who would make use of this measure.

Busuttil added that the elderly people are at risk of being homeless due to legal implications, and that if elected, a nationalist government would be commuted to study the legal situation and then come up with solutions.