Tenants' union to hold demonstration on Sunday to support victim of abusive landlord

Solidarjeta announces protest at 10:00am in Triq il-Keffa, Swieqi, after member's electricity and water supplies cut off by landlord who police seem reluctant to prosecute.

A photo of the landlord in question, taken by Aleksandar Vukoje
A photo of the landlord in question, taken by Aleksandar Vukoje

Trade and Tenant Union Solidarjeta' will be holding a demonstration on Sunday, in support of Aleksandar Vukoje, one of its members who spent the past week with no access to water or electricity after his landlord shut off the supply.

The protest will take place at 10:00am in Triq il-Keffa, Swieqi.

On Wednesday, the union revealed how when Vukoje had gone to complain to his landlord about him entering the apartment without consent, the landlord had threatened to slit his throat. It also revealed that the police had twice turned Vukoje away when he tried to file a police report. 

After MaltaToday published that story, the union said that a second tenant had come forward to give his own account of being threatened by the same landlord.

The union said it had written to the Prime Minister and several ministers on Wednesday, to bring the situation to their attention, but no action had been taken to restore Vukoje’s access to water and electricity.

“No person should go without water and electricity for a week, especially since the tenant had a legal right to reside in the property and the landlord broke the Criminal Code by shutting them off.” Solidarjeta' said in a statement on Saturday.

On his eighth day without water and electricity, Vukoje had this to say about how has been forced to adjust.

"Regardless of this situation, I have to go to work. Showering with no water has been difficult, having to resort to using bottled water to wash myself. I often work the nightshift, meaning I have to sleep during the day. With the heat in Malta, and no fan or air conditioning, this is very difficult and uncomfortable, leaving me sleep deprived.

When I enter back home, I feel unsafe that the landlord might be there waiting for me in my apartment. This causes me a lot of stress and anxiety."

"I have lived in Malta for 7 years, building a life here, paying taxes, contributing to national insurance, but the State has not stepped in to restore my water and electricity as is my right. But I will not back down until justice is served."

Solidarjeta’ is demanding that Vukoje’s access to water and electricity be restored. It also called upon Commissioner of Police to ensure his officers “start taking tenant issues seriously without the need for legal representatives to intervene.”

The union also demanded that the Housing Authority not only prohibit landlords or property managers, who have a history of proven tenant mistreatment and criminal behaviour, from continuing to act as landlords, but insisted that the Authority must also enforce this prohibition and ensure that abusive landlords do not simply switch to the black market.