The owner is obliged to provide the rented property in all respects in a good state of repair. The rental agreement usually distinguishes between ordinary minor repairs, which are usually the responsibility of the tenant, and larger/structural repairs that are the responsibility of the lessor, unless they were caused by the fault or negligence of the tenant. The tenant is responsible for deterioration or damage suffered during its enjoyment, unless they show that such damage was caused without fault. persons, who are found guilty of having granted a rental house or a separate premises for residential use that does not comply with the law, as well as other persons referred to in article 22 of the law, are guilty of an offense against the law and are incurred in case of conviction with a fine (multa) of at least two thousand five hundred euros (2,500 euros) and a maximum of ten thousand euros (10,000 euros). However, if the person who infringes the provisions of the Authority complies with the conditions of the Authority within the time limit set for the receipt of a notice of execution, this person is liable to a fine (multa) which may not exceed five thousand euros (€ 5,000) in case of conviction. These matters will be tried in a district court. Another concern that can be noted is that this is to end a non-renewable LPRL. The law provides that in the absence of a communication that the lessor must send to the tenant (at least three (3) months before the date of termination), the LPRL is extended for a period of twelve (12) months. This requirement is removed against the scope of a non-renewable contract, in which non-renewal would result in an extension that both parties have not accepted. What will happen? There are enough judgments on the topic of “consent” to write several theses, but for this guide, suffice it to say that there are a number of judgments that have clearly established that consent to the conclusion of an agreement must be given freely or voluntarily and corresponds to the intention of the party. The agreement is wrong if it is given in error and our courts have, on many occasions, annulled agreements tainted by an error in the agreement given by one or more parties. While it is understandable that the Act was designed with the aim of restoring the balance between landlords and tenants which, as noted at the beginning of this guide, has been lost over the years, this clause was designed in a vacuum, tackling a problem or reaching a scope without taking into account the much broader picture of Maltese legislation and jurisprudence.
It was poorly thought out and undifferentiated, and we hope that it will be properly revised, together with all the other clauses that allow for interpretation. In addition to this Act, which deals with certain housing issues, those who enter into Maltese rental contracts must also comply with the provisions of the Contracts Act. The Private Residential Leases Act (Cap. 604 of the Laws of Malta) (“Act”) has been drafted in a way that provides for a greater bias in favour of tenants vis-à-vis landlords. This is what the legislator wanted to do to intervene in a desperate rental market, with rental prices soaring in a relatively short period of time. Interventions on market dynamics are always a complex issue and no system that does so is perfect. The purpose of this guide is not to comment on the validity or invalidity of the law, but to provide a useful guide for landlords and tenants wishing to understand and navigate Maltese legislation on renting accommodation. There are still a few areas that are unclear or are subject to their own interpretation, which is why it is advisable for both landlords and tenants to get advice before entering into leases, especially for long-term leases or when leasing to sublet or by other means of investment..
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