Disappointment that MDA and PN are opposing rules for basic decency in rent |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
12/09/2019

Disappointment that MDA and PN are opposing rules for basic decency in rent

Fifteen organisations working in the social field are disappointed that the Malta Developers Association (MDA) and the Nationalist Party (PN) are pushing to remove basic obligations on landlords contained in the draft Residential Leases Bill. A number of NGOs had presented a proposal for rent regulation in February 2018, gave their feedback to the White Paper on this subject in October 2018 and reacted to the Bill tabled in Parliament earlier this year. In their reaction to the Bill, the NGOs had welcomed the introduction of a framework with basic rights and obligations on tenants and landlords, whilst stating that the Bill only marginally addresses the predominance of short-term contracts that lead to widespread instability, and fails to tackle the most pressing issue of exorbitant rent prices.


It is bewildering that now the MDA and the PN seem to suggest that they want those very basic obligations imposed by the Bill on landlords removed. Similar rules are found in almost all other European countries. Such obligations do not in any way fix prices or impose leases beyond contract periods. In fact, any parallels with the pre-1995 rent regime are delusional. These obligations simply stipulate rules for basic decency such as the obligation to register contracts that include an inventory and the amount of money deposited, allowing access to utility bills and informing tenants before contract expiry whether the lease is to be renewed or otherwise. Opposing these rules means defending the status quo of total non-regulation that is placing thousands of people in Malta in an extremely precarious situation, hitting hardest those on low and medium wages, pensioners, and persons in vulnerable situations such as women experiencing domestic violence, resulting in deleterious effects on individuals, society and the economy.


The Bill tabled in Parliament is based on the registration of contracts with the Housing Authorities. Should the power of the Housing Authority to verify the tenant’s residence in a unit be removed – as seems to be suggested by the MDA and the PN - the whole Bill would become next to useless since landlords will simply continue with the current situation of renting without a contract or with irregular, non-registered, contracts. The current situation of non-regulation and tax evasion can only change by empowering tenants to report landlords who do not register contracts, and giving the tools to the Housing Authority to verify that the tenant actually resides in the rented property. Moreover, threats from the MDA that landlords will pull their property from the market are most clearly a bluff, since if this proposed Bill is enacted it will in no way hinder landlords from making hefty profits from their rented properties. 


Rules and obligations in residential leases cannot be considered as a burden on landlords. They simply establish some very basic decency. Opposing them is equivalent to favouring the continuation of the residential leases black-market, the undignified treatment of tenants and the current free-for-all situation brought about by total non-regulation. 


1. Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar

2. Forum Komunitá Bormliża

3. Għaqda għall-Ġustizzja, Ugwaljanza u Paċi

4. Integra Foundation

5. Isles of the Left

6. Malta Gay Rights Movement

7. Malta Humanist Association

8. Malta Tenant Support

9. Men Against Violence

10. Millennium Chapel

11. Moviment Graffitti

12. SOS Malta

13. Spark 15

14. Women’s Rights Foundation

15. Żminijietna – Voice of the Left

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Diżappunt li l-MDA u l-PN qed jopponu regoli għal diċenza bażika fil-kera


Ħmistax-il organizzazzjoni jaħdmu fil-qasam soċjali huma diżappuntati li l-Malta Developers Association (MDA) u l-Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) qed jippruvaw ineħħu numru ta’ obbligi bażiċi tas-sidien tal-kera li qegħdin fl-abbozz tal-ligi dwar il-kera (Residential Leases Bill). Numru ta’ NGOs kienu ppreżentaw proposti għar-regolamentazzjoni tal-kera fi Frar tal-2018, taw ir-reazzjonijiet tagħhom għall-White Paper fuq dan is-suġġett f’Ottubru tal-2018 u rreaġixxew għall-abbozz ta’ liġi li ġie ppreżentat fil-Parlament iktar kmieni din is-sena. Fir-reazzjoni tagħhom għal dan l-abbozz, l-NGOs kienu laqgħu l-introduzzjoni ta’ qafas ta’ drittijiet u obbligi bażiċi għall-inkwilini u għas-sidien tal-kera, filwaqt li qalu li l-abbozz jindirizza biss marġinalment l-predominanza ta’ kuntratti qosra li jwasslu għall-instabbilità, u li ma jindirizzax l-ikbar problema li hemm f’dan il-qasam, dik ta’ prezzijiet eżorbitanti tal-kera.  


L-organizzazzjonijiet jinsabu perplessi li issa l-MDA u l-PN jidhru li qed jissuġġerixxu li jridu li dawn l-obbligi bażiċi imposti mill-abbozz fuq is-sidien tal-kera jitneħħew. Regoli simili jinsabu kważi fil-pajjiżi kollha Ewropej. Dawn l-obbligi bl-ebda mod ma jiffissaw il-prezzijiet jew jimponu kirjiet wara li jiskadi l-kuntratt. Min jipprova jqabbilhom mal-liġi tal-kera ta’ qabel l-1995 huwa kompletament maqtugħ mir-realtá. Dawn l-obbligi sempliċiment jistipulaw regoli ta’ diċenza bażika bħall-obbligu li jiġu rreġistrati kuntratti li jinkludi inventarju u l-ammont ta’ flus li jkun ġie depożitat, jippermettu aċċess lill-inkwilin għall-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma u li, qabel jiskadi l-kuntratt, is-sidien tal-kera jinfurmaw lill-inkwilin jekk hux se jġeddu l-kuntratt jew le. Min jopponi dawn ir-regoli jkun qed jiddefendi l-istatus quo ta’ nuqqas ta’ regolamentazzjoni totali li qed ipoġġi eluf ta’ nies f’Malta f’sitwazzjoni estremament prekarja u li tolqot l-aktar lil dawk li għandhom pagi baxxi jew medji, lill-pensjonanti, u persuni f’sitwazzjonijiet vulnerabbli bħal nisa vittmi ta’ vjolenza domestika. Dan kollu qed ikollu effetti negattivi ħafna kemm fuq l-individwi, kif ukoll fuq is-soċjetà u l-ekonomija. 


L-abbozz li ġie ppreżentat fil-Parlament huwa bbażat fuq ir-registrazzjoni tal-kuntratti mal-Awtorità tad-Djar. Jekk l-Awtorità tad-Djar jitneħħilha l-poter li tivverifika li persuna hija fil-fatt residenti fi propjetà - kif jidher li qed jissuġġerixxu l-MDA u l-PN – l-abbozz kollu kemm hu jispiċċa kważi inutli għax is-sidien ikunu jistgħu jibqgħu għaddejjin kif inhuma bħalissa, jikru mingħajr kuntratti jew b’kuntratti irregolari li ma jiġux irreġistrati. Is-sitwazzjoni preżenti ta’ nuqqas ta’ regolamentazzjoni u evażjoni ta’ taxxa tista’ tinbidel biss billi nagħtu l-poter lill-inkwilini li jirrapurtaw lis-sidien li ma jirreġistrawx il-kuntratti, u billi nagħtu l-għodda lill-Awtorità tad-Djar biex tkun tista’ tivverifika li persuna vera tgħix fir-residenza mikrija. Barra minn hekk, it-theddid mill-MDA li s-sidien tal-kera se jneħħu l-propjetà tagħhom mis-suq tal-kera huwa bla dubju biss paroli fil-vojt għaliex jekk dan l-abbozz isir liġi, dan bl-ebda mod ma hu se jżomm lis-sidien tal-kera milli jagħmlu profitti kbar mill-propjetajiet mikrija. 


Ir-regoli u l-obbligi marbutin mal-kera ma jistgħux jitqiesu bħala toqol fuq is-sidien. Qegħdin hemm sempliċiment biex jistabbilixxu naqra diċenza bażika. Li topponihom huma ekwivalenti għal qbil li ħafna kirjiet  jibqgħu parti mill-ekonomija s-sewda, qbil li dawk li jgħixu fil-kera jibqgħu jiġu ttrattati mingħajr dinjità, u qbil mas-sitwazzjoni preżenti fejn kulħadd jagħmel li jrid minħabba n-nuqqas totali ta’ regolamentazzjoni. 


1. Alleanza Kontra l-Faqar

2. Forum Komunitá Bormliża

3. Għaqda għall-Ġustizzja, Ugwaljanza u Paċi

4. Integra Foundation

5. Isles of the Left

6. Malta Gay Rights Movement

7. Malta Humanist Association

8. Malta Tenant Support

9. Men Against Violence

10. Millennium Chapel

11. Moviment Graffitti

12. SOS Malta

13. Spark 15

14. Women’s Rights Foundation

15. Żminijietna – Voice of the Left