[WATCH] Giving Housing Authority power to enter private property is dangerous, Adrian Delia insists

The PN is opposed to the new ‘draconian’ powers for the Housing Authority being contemplated in the rent law

Adrian Delia visited Dar Niki Cassar in Msida, which provides a shelter for homeless people
Adrian Delia visited Dar Niki Cassar in Msida, which provides a shelter for homeless people
PN opposed to new powers for housing authority

It is wrong to give the Housing Authority the power to enter private property as is being contemplated in the new rent laws, Adrian Delia said.

The Nationalist Party leader defended his party’s stand against the proposed powers, which would allow the government authority to verify residency in rented accommodation.

Delia was unfazed by criticism levelled towards the PN by several NGOs in the social sector that insisted the new powers were important for the authority to be able to ensure enforcement of obligations.

READ ALSO: Social groups critical of PN’s opposition to new rent law provisions

The Residential Leases Bill being proposed by the government seeks to introduce rights and obligations on tenants and landlords in a bid to bring some order to the rental market.

The new rules include the obligation to register rental contracts with the Housing Authority that will include inventories and the amount of money deposited.

However, the rules do not set rental prices but include fiscal incentives for landlords who opt for longer term contracts.

The PN and the Malta Developers Association came out strongly against the new powers granted to the Housing Authority.

Delia said he was looking forward to meet the NGOs to explain the PN’s position.

He was speaking after visiting Dar Niki Cassar, a shelter for the homeless in Msida run by YMCA. The visit was part of the PN’s Independence Day celebrations.

Delia was given a tour of the place, where he met residents and staff members.

“We are not against the law that regulates rent but we disagree with that part of the law that gives the government the right to enter and take private property,” Delia said.

The law does not in effect give the government any right to take private property but gives the Housing Authority power to enter private residences upon notification.

Delia said rising rents were the result of government’s economic model to import foreign labour.

“Prices have been rising not because society has become more affluent but because apartments are accommodating six, seven, or eight foreigners, making the higher rent affordable for them but out of reach for Maltese families and young people,” Delia said.

He insisted that the government could not expect the private sector to solve the problems it created.

“The PN is fine with systems that ensure that all taxes due are paid, including the registration of contracts and controls but to use draconian methods such as the power to enter private property is dangerous,” Delia said.

He said the government had a duty to provide solutions to those who cannot afford the higher prices.