Developers urge government to introduce new permanent regime in light of landmark rent ruling

The call comes after a Constitutional Court decision that declared that rents entered into before June 1995 breached owners’ fundamental rights

The MDA is calling on the government to introduce a new permanent rent regime (Photo: Micaela Parente/Unsplash)
The MDA is calling on the government to introduce a new permanent rent regime (Photo: Micaela Parente/Unsplash)

The Malta Developers Association has called on government to introduce a new permanent rent regime, following a landmark Constitutional Court decision.

The courts ruled this week that tenants on disproportionately low protected rents entered into before June 1995 can have their tenancy tight challenged.

The ruling was made in case filed by two siblings who were unable to exercise their full property rights over a three-storey house with a large garden in Sliema. They told the cour that the fact that the lease would be inherited by the tenant’s children meant they had no real hope of ever gaining effective possession of it.

In a statement on Saturday, the MDA owners of such properties were having to make due with a “fair rent”, despite soaring market values.

It noted that the court had rule that the regime created an unjust imbalance between owners’ and tenants’ rights “with the former having to shoulder, for years on end, the social burden induced by the current legislation”.

The MDA said the ruling meant that the country was now effectively in a position where various areas of control legislation have been found to breach the fundamental rights of citizens to enjoy their property.

At the same time, it said, government was evaluating feedback to its recently issued White Paper on rent reform.

“The whole issue of rent reform should be tackled comprehensively so that a balance is found between the rights of landlords and the protection of tenants,” the association said.

It added that “attempts piecemeal solutions” so far had, rather than overcoming problems, led to the creation of more legal complications.

“Such a radical change cannot be foisted suddenly on the country and therefore government should seek to establish a new permanent rent regime applicable for all rented property to be introduced in stages over a reasonable transition period,” it said.

MDA appealed to all property owners to continue to join and insisted that it will be at the "forefront" to address these injustices.

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