Amendments to rent laws tabled in first-reading

Landlords will only be able to register six tenants that are not part of the same family, to one unit according to new renting laws

File photo: MaltaToday
File photo: MaltaToday

Housing Minister Roderick Galdea tabled the first-reading for a number of amendments to the rent law on Monday.

“The amendments will eliminate the abuse being carried out by certain landlords where six or seven people are crammed into a one-bedroom apartment,” the minister told the House.

He said the amendments will align the rent law with the planning laws. Landlords will only be able to register six tenants that are not part of the same family, to one unit, according to thew new renting rules.

Galdes stated recently 40 people were found living in uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions in one apartment in Sliema.

"We refuse to allow speculation and abuse that violates fundamental human rights. Even the rent prices are soaring; if an apartment used to cost €900, now it's being rented out for €3,000 a month, pushing rental prices to surreal levels that are unacceptable to us,” he said.

Among the amendments is the blacklisting of landlords who are found guilty of abuse. Galdes said government does not want the sharing of apartments or that the concept of apartment sharing is encouraged.

The Housing Authority will also be empowered to hand out fines up to €2,329 against landlords that disobey the rules, such as by failing to register a contract with the authority. If a landlord does not remedy the situation, they could be brought to court and fined up to €10,000. 

Addressing a press conference last week, Matthew Zerafa, the CEO of the Housing Authority, said these changes, along with the standards introduced three years ago, aim to keep a good relationship between landlords and tenants.

"We are making sure renting continues to be a good and stable option for Maltese families," he said.