According to latest Eurostat statistics, Malta was not among the countries registering the highest annual increase in property prices.
During the last three months of 2018, however, Malta registered a 3.1% increase in prices when compared to the previous three months. Malta was in fact the second placed country which registered an increase in property prices during this period, when the average increase across the European Union was 1.5%.
This increase in property prices is resulting in persons with low or average incomes complaining they are finding it difficult to rent or purchase property. This topic is often discussed at length on social media, with many frustrated persons recounting their experiences.
High prices, however, are not the only challenge being faced by those wanting to rent.
Many Maltese nationals are complaining of discrimination in the property market. It appears certain owners are not accepting to rent their properties to Maltese tenants.
TVM can confirm this situation following a survey it carried out through a Maltese person looking for a small apartment in the south. Through Facebook, this person with a Maltese surname posted a number of requests to owners or agents for these apartments.
Whilst some replied and expressed interest in renting out an apartment, others did not reply. In one case, a particular agency asked outright for the nationality, stating clearly that the property owner did not wish to rent to Maltese nationals.
Persons involved in the property market told TVM this situation could be based on two factors.
It could be the case that some owners feel more comfortable taking unjust advantage of foreigners, possibly because the latter would not be aware of their rights or might not know to whom they would have to report wrongdoings.
It could also be that the owner might not be harbouring bad intentions, but when one does not have a property registered for rental, one cannot take action if the tenant fails to pay the rent, or if the tenant refuses to vacate the premises at the end of the tenancy. Certain owners feel the tendency is more for Maltese to take advantage of such a situation.
These same persons expressed the hope this situation will be improved following Government’s announcement in the last Budget that registration of rentals with the Housing Authority will become mandatory, and that this registration will be enforced.
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