Malta’s old rent laws declared unconstitutional for the umpteenth time – owners awarded €200,000 in damages payable by the State Advocate

Malta’s old rent laws, permitting a “forced landlord-tenant relationship” for an indefinite period of time and at a rent far below the current market value, were once again declared unconstitutional by a Maltese court.

The judgement was handed down by Mr Justice Joseph Zammit McKeon presiding over the First Hall of the Civil Court in its Constitutional Jurisdiction just this morning, in a case instituted by the owners of a large palazzo in Birgu, which had originally been leased to a certain Giuseppa Spiteri decades ago, and following her death, was subsequently taken over by her daughter Miriam Pace along with her husband Philip Pace, who transformed the property into their family home.

The said property today has a value of €1,500,000 and a rental value of €52,500, and yet according the law, the owners are only entitled to receive €209 per annum in rent.

In view of the excessive and disproportionate burden imposed on the owners over an extended period of time, resulting in losses running into the millions of Euro in lost rents by the plaintiffs, and in view of the State Advocate’s persistent intransigence in allowing the said law to remain on the statute book, despite numerous judgements confirming the unconstitutionality of same, even by the European Court of Human Rights, the Court deemed it just and equitable to award plaintiffs €200,000 in damages, payable by the State Advocate.

Plaintiffs were represented by Dr Edward DeBono and Dr Karl Micallef.

Judgement can be viewed here.