Wednesday 22 May 2024

MDA insists on justice for landlords

The Malta Developers Association refers to the amendments introduced via Act 8 of 2018, which amend the provisions of the Civil Code that regulate rent and which provisions were introduced in 2009 as part of a whole package of amendments that were intended to regulate once and for all, among other things, commercial rents that predated 1995.

It is a matter of disappointment that legal provisions that gave such a long, advanced notice on how these rents had to be regulated, were amended a few days before the first term that was fixed so long ago lapsed. As a result of these amendments, the landlords instead of certainty, were placed in a situation where they needed to wait for the outcome of legal procedures on whether tenants should be asked to leave the premises rented to them or not.

Several owners have long been planning for this term to lapse, however now, literally on the eve of the term coming into force, they ended up in an unjust situation of uncertainty. The legal certainty and the aim of the 2009 amendments, that gave a clear nine-year notice, came to nothing, and the Association is perplexed how, after all this time, consultations and reports, what was approved in 2009 was amended precisely on the eve of one of the important terms stipulated in the law.

MDA also refers to Bill 42 of 2018 in which amendments are proposed to Chap. 158 of the Laws of Malta, as well as the Civil Code. The Association insists that these amendments should be the subject of effective analysis and consultation since even in this case amendments are being introduced that are aimed at safeguarding tenants in a way that, once again, imposes an unjust burden on landlords.

The amendments intended to protect the rents of band clubs go so far as to provide that a Court judgment cannot be enforced. This is a source of great concern to the MDA and constitutes a serious precedent. The Association understands that there are leases that serve a social purpose. However, certainly this must not result in prejudice towards whoever is carrying the burden of a rent singlehandedly, and unreasonable and unjust conditions, after he would have waited so long so that at last he would obtain justice.