After being briefed by legal experts on the proposed new rent law during a packed hall meeting held in Sliema yesterday, hundreds of members of the Malta Developers Association Landlords Section were shocked to realise that both their tenants and themselves will end up being worse off if the law went ahead in its present format.
Many lamented that the new law would create new difficulties for them rather than solve important issues that need to be addressed for the benefit of both sides of the rental agreement. Measures in the new law will lead to reducing trust between landlords and tenants and this could disrupt the market, creating a huge negative impact and causing unwanted repercussions for society at large.
The President of the Association, Mr. Sandro Chetcuti insisted that it is imperative that the concept of freedom of contract was preserved in the new law and urged Parliament to tread very cautiously on this matter. He appealed to the Housing Authority to appreciate that the rental market also comprises many upmarket residences, apart from the lower end flats that are obviously much more abundant.
On the subject of pre-1995 rent agreements that have now been identified to be unconstitutional and still leave some landlords majorly disadvantaged to this day; the general feeling is that the Housing Authority should not continue relying on private landlords to provide low-cost residential accommodation for tenants that are able to afford paying today’s rates like everyone else. Directly addressing this injustice is long overdue and should be adequately catered for in the new law.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market, Hon. Chris Agius and senior members of the secretariat of the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government were also present at the meeting.