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Study On Malta’s Private Residential Rental Sector Compliance

Study On Malta’s Private Residential Rental Sector Compliance
Mar 5 2024 Share

The Private Residential Leases Act (PRLA) was introduced back in 2020 with the goal of ensuring, among other elements, that this sector is rendered more secure and transparent. Four years on, this Legal Study delves deep into the compliance aspect of the Private Residential Rental Sector.

This analysis bridges two different aspects – first by examining the enforcement action conducted by the Housing Authority to ascertain compliance with the lessor’s duty to register the agreement, and then by evaluating how lessors and lessees have been fulfilling their duties towards each other, in an exercise that can be considered a continuation of the analysis contained in the Housing Authority’s 2022 Residential Rental Study. 

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This also includes the Adjudicating Panel function carried out by the Housing Authority since 2020.

The key highlights of the Legal Study include the following:

  • As of September 2023, there were 886 notifications issued to non-compliant landlords, 78 of which led to a criminal complaint to the Police.
  • There were 22 decisions delivered by the Court of Magistrates (Criminal Judicature), with 3 decisions appealed before the Court of Appeal (Inferior Jurisdiction) over this period.
  • Although the fine established in the Private Residential Leases Act can range from €2,500 to €10,000, in 12 out of the 15 cases in which the accused was found guilty, the Court imposed the minimum fine permissible by law.
  • The analysis of the Adjudicating Panel decisions in 2022 and 2023 highlights the importance of the inventory in attesting to the true state of the property.
  • The decisions by the Adjudicating Panel indicate that claims to damages following the termination of the lease, or overcharging of utilities, need to be backed by adequate proof, consisting not only of photographic evidence but also of documents, such as quotes or invoices, capable of quantifying such damage. The same applies to tenants claiming overcharging of utility bills.
  • In general, the study indicates that there is a strong case for the competence of the Panel to be extended to, at least, cases of rent and utility arrears and expenses related to the common parts.

This legal study was carried out by Dr Kurt Xerri, resident academic within the Department of Civil Law at the Faculty of Laws of the University of Malta; Dr Bryony Balzia Bartolo, manager of the Legal Office of the Housing Authority; and Dr Stefan Cutjar, an associate at Camilleri Preziosi Advocates and former Policy Consultant to the Ministry for Social and Affordable Accommodation.

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Over 200 Nadur Primary Students To Benefit From €6.3M Investment

Over 200 Nadur Primary Students To Benefit From €6.3M Investment
Mar 5 2024 Share

Starting this academic year, approximately 200 students and 30 educators have begun benefiting from a modernized educational setting thanks to an investment exceeding €6.3 million financed under Malta’s NextGenerationEU Recovery and Resilience Plan. 

This substantial investment has rejuvenated two century-old schools, completely transforming them to meet the contemporary educational requirements. 

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As a result, the Nadur school now boasts state-of-the-art, accessible educational facilities for both students and teachers. The inauguration was graced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Funds, Equality, Reforms, and Social Dialogue Chris Fearne, Minister for Education, Sports, Youth, Research, and Innovation Clifton Grima, and Minister for Gozo and Planning Clint Camilleri.

Deputy Prime Minister Fearne underscored the importance of prioritizing large-scale construction projects, including public infrastructure, to ensure optimal energy utilization. 

Minister Grima emphasized the unprecedented investment in educational infrastructure through the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS). He highlighted significant investments in Gozo, particularly in the Rabat Educational Complex, amounting to €18 million. 

Minister Camilleri detailed the extensive refurbishment undertaken at the Nadur primary school over the past year, emphasizing the ongoing need for investment in Gozitan educational infrastructure.

In addition to the comprehensive renovation of the school’s interior and exterior, the project included redesigning open and recreational spaces, as well as creating new areas for extracurricular activities. These encompass a dance studio, music room, literacy room, theatre studio, and art classrooms. 

The focus on accessibility within the building ensured compliance with regulations, alongside the implementation of energy-efficient measures and the expansion of green areas in the outdoor recreational space. 

The school now operates almost carbon neutral, with an increased reliance on renewable energy and a reduction in energy demand by at least 30%. Furthermore, new services such as lighting, water, drainage, CCTV, internet connectivity, alarms, and fire safety were integrated into the project. 

Also present at the inauguration were FTS CEO Dr. Neville Young, Gozo College Principal Sean Zammit, and School Head Mary Jane Camilleri.

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More Initiatives To Address Obesity In Malta

More Initiatives To Address Obesity In Malta
Mar 5 2024 Share

On World Obesity Day, a press conference was held featuring Health and Active Ageing Minister Jo Etienne Abela and Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing Malcolm Paul Agius Galea.

They discussed several initiatives aimed at tackling obesity in the country, with estimates suggesting over 250,000 individuals affected by overweight and obesity. Efforts are ongoing to provide necessary assistance, with the government already offering various services tailored to individuals suffering from obesity, and plans for further development of specialized services are in progress. Additionally, work is underway to formulate a national strategy to effectively address this growing challenge.

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Minister Jo Etienne Abela emphasized the importance of increasing awareness about obesity globally. He highlighted the widespread impact of obesity across all age groups and stressed the significance of preventive measures, particularly in relation to diabetes. He underscored the need for continued investment in awareness campaigns and preventive measures.

Parliamentary Secretary Malcolm Paul Agius Galea noted the impact of obesity on the elderly, leading to various health issues. He stressed the importance of investing in nutritional education for both older adults and younger generations, highlighting the potential for even small dietary changes to improve overall health.

Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci emphasized the global scale of the obesity challenge and Malta’s high rates of overweight and obesity. She stressed the crucial role of prevention in addressing this issue.

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Donald Trump Allowed To Continue Running For President

Donald Trump Allowed To Continue Running For President
Mar 5 2024 Share

The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favour of allowing Donald Trump to remain on the presidential primary ballot in Colorado, overturning a decision from the state’s highest court. 

The ruling came just ahead of Super Tuesday, where Colorado, among other states, would hold Republican presidential primaries. Trump’s eligibility had been questioned due to his alleged involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. 

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The Supreme Court found that states lacked authority under the US Constitution to disqualify candidates from federal offices based on such grounds. Trump hailed the decision as a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” and argued that voters, not courts, should decide candidates’ fates. 

However, some critics, including the non-profit legal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, expressed disappointment, saying the court missed an opportunity to address concerns about candidates’ eligibility under the 14th Amendment’s Section Three. 

This case marked the first time the court addressed how this Civil War-era provision applied to present-day presidential candidates, ultimately emphasising the need for federal legislation to enforce it.

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