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Print Posted by Kiribiss.com on 11/10/2017

Rental agreements to be registered, help for second-time home buyers and measures for the elderly

Rental agreements to be registered, help for second-time home buyers and measures for the elderly

White Paper on rental property to be issued in coming weeks   

Times of Malta   

Rental regulation is in the pipeline. Photo: Shutterstock

All property rent agreements must be registered, with the contracts specifying the lease term and amount due in rent through the whole term, a White Paper on the property rental market to be issued in the coming weeks will propose.

The announcement was made by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna during this evening’s Budget speech.

He said the government wants to better regulate the rental market and will be encouraging landlords to put more properties up for rent. The governemnt will not return to rent control, however.

Landlords who do not register their rental agreements  will not be protected in terms of the rent law, such as in its provisions on evictions, the White Paper will propose.

Rent deposits to be administered by government

The government, he said, will insist that rental contracts cannot be short, although provisions will be included to allow for short lets for tourism purposes.

The law will be reviewed to make it easier for landlords to evict tenants when they do not pay their rents. At present, landlords have to go through a court process lasting up to two years to get their properties back. The government wants to reduce that to some six months.

Prof. Scicluna said the Rent Subsidy Scheme, which was doubled last year, will be broadened to allow people with more assets to be eligible for the scheme.

Incentives for property to be rented to the Housing Authority

The government will also renew the Skema Kiri where landlords are encouraged to rent their properties to the government for allocation to social cases. The scheme has been judged a success, with 200 applications by landlords so far.

Property owners will be given up to €25,000 to renovate old properties which are then rented out to the Housing Authority on 10-year contracts at pre-agreed rental rates.

Elderly people who hold a government tenement but live at a government home for the elderly will be able to keep more of their pension if they return their residence to the government. The government currently takes 80 per cent of the pension of those in in old people’s homes, but those who return their tenement will be able to retain 40 per cent of their pension.

Prof Scicluna said the government was commited to increase social housing and is currently building 700 units. The Housing Authority will also be providing more social loans for more people to become home owners.

Landlords who don't register their rental properties will lose legal rights. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Landlords who don't register their rental properties will lose legal rights. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Second Property Buyers’ Scheme

Prof Scicluna said the government will retain the First Time Buyers’ scheme, through which young couples buying a property receive up to €5,000 in assistance.

The government will also introduce a Second Property Buyers’ Scheme, where assistance of up to €3,000 will be given to those who sell their first home to buy another one.

Among those who will benefit will be families who outgrow their first house and elderly persons whose first home is now too large, Prof. Scicluna said. The scheme is aimed at improving supply in the property market. Separating couples will also benefit pro rata.

Current schemes to assist those who restore properties in Urban Conservation Areas and those who buy property in Gozo will be retained.

The government will also consider ways to regulate equity release schemes where people are not charged for moving into old people’s homes as long as they bequeath their property to the owner of the home.


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