Changes to Malta’s Rent Regulations
08 February 2021
In January 2020, Malta’s rent regulations were amended following the enactment of the Private Residential Leases Act, Chapter 604 of the Laws of Malta (‘the Act’). The purpose of these amendments is to provide further stability in the Maltese rental market and to ensure that contractual relations between lessors and lessees are based on fair standards.
The clauses of the new Act shall apply to private residential leases entered into after January 2020 and to leases which were entered prior to the coming into force of the Act and which have been renewed or are still in force after the 1st January 2021.
The Act distinguishes between two types of private residential leases:
Short- term leases: which refer to lease agreements entered for a duration of less than six months and entered into with lessees who classify in one of the following categories:
- Non-resident workers who are employed either for a period of less than six months or to complete a specific task within a maximum period of six months;
- Non-resident students who are enrolled in courses for less than six months;
- Residents who need to rent an alternative primary residence for a period of less than six months;
- Non-residents who need to rent a tenement for a period of less than six months if they would not be seeking to establish their long residence in Malta.
It should be noted that short-term leases may not be extended, and the lessee may not withdraw from short term leases before the lapse of one month. Following this one-month period, the lessee may withdraw at any time from the short-term lease if he or she provides prior notice to the lessor of at least one week, via registered letter.
Long term leases: which refer to lease agreements entered for a duration of not less than one year. The new Act provides that lease agreements negotiated for a period of less than one year shall be deemed to have been agreed for a period of at least one year. The new Act also provides that lessees may be able to withdraw from a long-term lease depending on the duration of the lease agreement. Therefore, lessees may not withdraw from long-term lease agreements prior to the expiration of:
- Six months if the lease is for a period which is less than two years (in such case, a one month notice to the lessor is required, via registered letter).
- Nine months if the lease is for a period of more than two years but less than three years (in such case, a two month notice to the lessor is required, via registered letter).
- Twelve months if the lease is for a period of three years or more (in such case, a three month notice to the lessor is required, via registered letter).
The Act requires all private residential lease agreements, falling within its scope, to be registered with the Housing Authority within ten days from the commencement of the lease. The registration would need to be made by the lessor, however if the lessor fails to register the lease agreement, then the lessee may proceed to register the agreement, at the expense of the lessor. Furthermore, all private residential lease agreement made after the entry into force of the Act are to be made in a manner stipulated by the Act and in absence of any of the requirements stipulated by the Act, the agreement shall not be registerable and thus considered null and void.
If you wish to learn more about the changes introduced to Malta’s rental regulations by way of the enactment of the Act, contact BDO Malta’s Legal Team here: