Opinions

Malta’s New Proposed Rent Law brings about Radical Changes

Malta’s rent laws have for decades been the subject of controversy. We all very well know that the situation on rents in Malta has gone out of hand, with various landlords abusing the system. In a bid to stop increasing rents, the Maltese parliament is currently working extensively to reform legislation and introduce measures to cap rents and strengthen the Housing Authority’s position to better regulate the sector.

A recently proposed new rent law which is currently being addressed in parliament has left various landlords in fury after it was proposed that Housing Authority officials will now have the right to enter and inspect any private property around Malta at their own will. The aim of this new law is to allow Housing Authority officials to stop landlords from acting abusively towards vulnerable people. This is in light of the recent cases being reported of migrants being found living in filthy and inhumane conditions.

Housing Authority officials will also have the power to verify whether the said premises are truly being occupied by people and to take photographs of such when deemed necessary. Various property owners who are against this new rent reform are referring to this proposed law as somewhat ‘draconian’ and unheard of.

The Nationalist Party along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Notarial Council are against this new draft law, stating that this measure is ‘draconian and anti-constitutional’. Former European Court of Human Rights Judge Giovanni Bonello argued that this new proposed law is in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights as the right to privacy in one’s home is a fundamental human right.

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms allows entry into one’s private property if this is solely in the public interest. Therefore, entry into one’s own home is acceptable if it is in the interest of national security, public safety, the economic wellbeing of a country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals and for the rights and freedoms of others. This proposed law falls nowhere close to preserving the public interest.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Notarial Council have similar views, indicating that entry into a private home can only be substantiated legally, if this is done by a search warrant issued by a Magistrate granting police officers the power to execute a search.

Various landlords have labelled this draft provision as unfair and have informed the government that if this new law goes through, landlords will be inclined to remove their property from the market entirely.

What do you think of this new law? Are you in favour or against it? Do you think it will have implications on the market? Let us know your views in the comments section.

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