Landlords threaten to remove their properties from the market over rent reform proposals

Landlords fear the rent reform White Paper will stifle their freedom to set contractual terms

Several landlords rejected any loss of freedom of contract in the new law, with some saying they would remove their property from the market if this had to happen
Several landlords rejected any loss of freedom of contract in the new law, with some saying they would remove their property from the market if this had to happen

Several landlords have protested against the loss of freedom of contract as a result of proposals made in the rental reform White Paper, threatening to remove their properties from the market if it goes through.

Landlords gathered in large numbers to discuss the White Paper at a meeting organised by the Malta Developers Association on Wednesday. The conference was opened by Muriel Grech, head of the Landlords Section within the MDA, who briefly outlined the MDA’s position.

Adrian Zerafa from Saliba Stafrace Legal gave a detailed presentation ofthe White Paper and was part of the panel facilitating an open discussion, with many of those present taking part.

Several landlords rejected any loss of freedom of contract in the new law, with some saying they would remove their property from the market if this had to happen.

Issues with utility bills from delinquent tenants, abandonment and debt chasing were raised, and the importance of having one-year and shorter-term contracts was highlighted, especially when renting to third country nationals.

The enduring problem of pre-1995 contracts was also mentioned, with some speakers arguing this needs to be addressed somehow in the new law.

MDA President Sandro Chetcuti explained how hundreds of property owners who have joined the association’s recently formed Landlords Section are not opposing regularisation of this sector.

Rather than imposition and interference in business matters, the MDA is urging the government to create incentives for those who choose to rent with more favourable long-term rates, since this will also help tenants indirectly.

He promised the MDA would ensure that any changes will support and not stifle the long-awaited blooming of the rental market in Malta.

He went on to assure those present that the many valid suggestions emanating from the meeting, and phone calls and e-mails being received, were being evaluated by the association’s technical team, and will be used to add more value to the official position paper that the MDA will be presenting to the government in the coming days.

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