In a landmark judgement delivered this morning by Mr Justice Lawrence Mintoff presiding over the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional Jurisdiction, in the names Anthony Debono et vs Avukat Generali et, the said court declared unequivocally that Chapter 69 of the Laws of Malta and Act X of 2009 which protect sitting tenants in pre-June 1995 leases are in blatant breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and of the Constitution of Malta and can therefore no longer be invoked by the said tenants in order to continue renewing their lease on an indefinite basis, effectively translating in a termination of the said lease.
The Court also awarded €20,000 in damages payable to plaintiffs Anthony Debono and Simone Dimech by the Attorney General, along with all costs of the case, on account of the fact that the legal regime in question which gave the sitting tenants the right to continue renewing the lease indefinitely at a paltry rent despite the amendments of Act X of 2009, is in breach of the owner’s constitutional rights and was allowed to remain on the statute book when it was manifestly clear that such dispositions of the law breached the fundamental human rights of the owners.
This effectively means that all pre 1st June 1995 leases, whether residential or commercial, are up for scrutiny. If the rent is disproportionate with market forces, then, the tenants shall no longer be able to claim protection for automatic renewal.
Plaintiffs were represented by Dr Edward DeBono and Dr Karl Micallef.