The Private Residential Leases Act (the “Act”) was enacted on 8th November 2019 in order to regulate private residential leases in Malta that are entered into or renewed after the entry into force of the Act.
The new rent laws do not apply to (i) properties which are not leased out for a residential purpose (including commercial leases); (ii) pre-1995 leases; (iii) leasing to tourists for tourism purposes (for less than one consecutive year); and (iv) properties owned by the Government of Malta (other than through Private Foundations).
By virtue of the new rent laws, lessors of all private residential leases are now bound to register the lease contracts with the Housing Authority within ten days of the commencement of the lease
The Act makes a clear distinction between “long private residential leases” and “short private residential leases”. A long private residential lease is defined as any lease which is negotiated for a primary residential purpose, which is not a short private residential lease, and which may not have a duration of less than one year. A short private residential lease refers to any lease which is negotiated for a duration of six months, which period may not be extended, and complies with one of the below categories:
- Non-resident workers who are employed for a period of less than six months or who are employed to complete a specific task within a maximum period of six months;
- Non-resident students who are enrolled in courses which are of a term of less than six months;
- Residents who would need to rent an alternative primary residence for a period of less than six months;
- Non-residents who need to rent a tenement for a period of less than six months, and provided that they would not be seeking to establish a long residence in Malta.
By virtue of the new rent laws, lessors of all private residential leases are now bound to register the lease contracts with the Housing Authority within ten days of the commencement of the lease. If the lessor fails to carry out this duty, the lessee may register the lease contract himself, at the expense of the lessor. The registration of a lease is to include the declaration of any amount deposited by the lessee by way of security together with the presentation of an inventory.
It is important to note that the obligation to register a leasing arrangement also applies to those contracts entered into after 1st June 1995 but before the coming into force of the Act and which would still be in force as of 1st January 2021.