PN against rent control regimes but favours ‘incentives’ for landlords, tenants

The Opposition argues that new subsidy regulations are making it harder for tenants to rent property: ‘new eligibility requirements open door to rent abuse’

Opposition MPs Stephen Spiteri, Paula Mifsud Bonnici and Robert Cutajar
Opposition MPs Stephen Spiteri, Paula Mifsud Bonnici and Robert Cutajar

People renting private property and receiving government subsidies against their rent were now finding it very difficult to cope after new eligibility criteria for the subsidies were introduced this year, shadow social policy minister Paula Mifsud Bonnici said on Monday. 

Mifsud Bonnici, who was addressing a press conference at the opposition's rooms in parliament, said that under the new requirements, people would have to present a contract signed by the property owner to be eligible for the increased subsidies announced in the 2017 budget. 

"Under previous regulations, tenants did not need to inform the owners of the subsidies they received," she said. "This new requirement could lead to owners raising the rents since they know the tenants would be receiving government subsidies."

Responding to questions put to her by MaltaToday, Mifsud Bonnici said the Nationalist Party was not keen on introducing a rent control regime, but was currently examining a number of proposals on how to incentivise owners and tenants alike. 

The party's spokesman for the family, Robert Cutajar, said the increase registered in the cost of living, as confirmed by a Caritas report, and the introduction of excise duty on essential items, were far more than could be justified by a €1.75 increase given in the last budget. 

Stephen Spiteri, PN spokesman for housing, said many families would suffer from the tiniest increase in the cost of living, let alone having to pay half their monthly income on rent. 

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