YEAR 2017 N.º 3

ISSN 2182-9845

Maltese law of letting and hiring: Lessons from the past and solutions for the future

Kurt Xerri


Housing; Rent; Rent Regulation; Tenancy law; Tenant; Landlord.


The Maltese government is currently seeking to address the question of how to regulate its private rented sector. A wave of foreign employees, driven by the remarkable economic growth of the island, has produced a dramatic rise in rental prices, thereby constraining a segment of the population to live in challenging housing conditions. Although a degree of regulation appears to be necessary in order to stabilise the increase in rents, proposals for government intervention in the sector are treated with significant scepticism as not only have overly-restrictive mechanisms led to the paralysis of the market twice in the course of the country’s recent history, but due to governmental inaction, an appreciable number of rental contracts remain to this day subject to a disproportionate, and in some cases even unjustified, controlling method. In the light of the fact that neither over-regulation nor complete liberalisation appear to be viable solutions in ensuring the wellbeing of the sector, the administration is currently in search for a well-calibrated and flexible model, which is capable of ensuring stability for tenants and a sustained profitability for landlords at one and the same time.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. The history of rent regulation in Malta
2.1 The Rent Restriction (Dwelling Houses) Ordinance (1944)
2.2 The Housing (Decontrol) Ordinance (as amended in 1979)
2.3 Human Rights issues relating to rent control statutes
3. The Current Situation
3.1 The Main Features of the Liberal regime
3.1.1 Tenants’ Evaluative Criteria
3.1.2 Landlords’ Evaluative Criteria
4. The possible way forward
5. Final Remarks
6. Conclusion