Practice Areas:

Old Rent Laws

Old Rent Laws regulating rental and accommodation of premises in Malta were promulgated with the primary intention to protect the lessee and this in the light of public and social interests. As a matter of fact, the Law precluded the lessor from terminating the lease, saving extreme instances. Hence there was an automatic right of renewal against a rent which did not reflect its potential market value.

Throughout the years, numerous legislative interventions were made with the aim to balance the interests of the lessor and the lessee, the first of which dates back to 1995. In fact by means of this intervention, the law sought that any lease agreement entered into after the 1st June 1995 shall not be regulated by means of the Old Rent Laws. Although this legislative intervention has regulated rental agreements post June 1995, the rights of the relative parties in relation to pre-1995 lease agreements were still unbalanced.

In 2008, another set of legislative interventions were introduced, where slight amendments were made in relation to pre-1995 Old Rent Laws, including the minimum quantum of rent and the right of inheritance of the relative rent. Yet, this law still did not provide for the required balance between the lessor’s right of enjoyment of the property and the required State intervention in order to safeguard public accommodation.

However, in 2018 a remedy was introduced whereby the lessor may file an application to request the Rent Regulation Board to assess whether the lessee satisfies the means test and in the affirmative the rent maybe increased up to the value of 2% of the property’s market value. In the event that the lessee does not satisfy the means test, the Board will request the eviction of the tenant in a specific period of time and against a rent as decided by the same Board.

One must note that although there might be the perception that there exists one type of old rent, legally speaking a distinction exists to the types of rent and this on the basis of their origin. By way of example, one may still refer to a rental agreement despite of the fact that such rent was created as a consequence of a temporary emphyteusis and hence different legal provisions may apply.