Finance Minister Edward Scicluna stated in his 2019 Budget Speech that a full reform is to be carried out in the way rent subsidies are worked out, and on the qualification criteria for the subsidy.
The means test is to be eliminated, as a number of persons with a certain level of income were being left out, and as they were paying rent they were ending up with insufficient funds for decent living.
The means test will be replaced by new criteria for eligibility depending on the family’s gross income, and with the existing rent exceeding the benchmark for that family. An applicant will have to satisfy both criteria in order to be eligible for the subsidy.
The rent subsidy will also be increased. Assistance will now range from a maximum of 3,000 euro to 5,000 euro per year, according to a family’s circumstances.
Government is working to launch a scheme which will be offering a fiscal incentive through a seven-year tax reduction on sale of property to the owner who rents out at a rate below market rate.
The Minister further stated that registration of rentals with the Housing Authority and enforcement on rent registration will now become mandatory.