On the 16th of January 2024, Maltese Parliament issued Bill No. 87 entitled ‘the Private Residential Leases (Amendment) Bill’ (‘the Bill’) to amend Chapter 16 of the laws of Malta, the Civil Code (‘the Code’), and Chapter 604 of the Laws of Malta, the Private Residential Leases Act (‘the Act’) specifically in relation to provisions on private residential leases.

It is expected that the permissible duration for the letting of shared residential spaces will be extended and that instances such as express renewals, substitutions and additions of tenants and consensual terminations will be regulated.

The first significant amendments relate to the provisions of the Code. Here, the tenant’s permanent dependence on hospitals or elderly homes shall bring about the same effects of his eventual death. Furthermore, the lessor shall inform the lessee of his intention to use the house let for his own habitation at least three months before by registered letter. For leases made after the entry into force of the Act there ought to be made in writing an inventory in the form of documentary evidence or photographs signed by all parties attesting the condition of the tenement and the state of furniture and domestic appliances supplied by the lessor.

The bulk of the proposed amendments relate to the renewal and termination of lease. The Bill begins by stipulating that, where the lessor fails to serve the lessee with a notice of termination within the specified time, but the lessee decides to terminate the agreement within the date stipulated in the agreement, he shall give notice to the lessor at least one month before by registered letter. Furthermore, the lessor may not give any notice of termination with the aim of terminating the agreement before the period imposed by law or stipulated in the agreement, saving the provisions of the Code.

Moreover, the Bill mandates that renewal may be express.  In this case, renewal shall not include changes to the original agreement, except for the increase permissible in accordance with the Act. Here, the lessor may request an increase in rent and the lessor may opt to request such increase for each day which passes from the commencement of the agreement.  

The Bill also provides that any party to the agreement may request the substitution of a lessee in a private residential lease, provided that this be effected with the express consent of the lessor and the outgoing lessee. Furthermore, lessees may also be added to the agreement, provided that the consent of the lessor and existing lessee/s exists.

In cases where the parties agree to the consensual termination of the lease or the lessee abandons the rented property without giving notice, the lessor may request the registration of a new lease on the same dwelling house regardless of the existence of the previous lease. Moreover, should the lessee withdraw from a long private residential lease prior to the expiration of the term stipulated by the parties, the lessor may retain an amount not exceeding one month’s rent from the deposit left by the lessee by way of security. The parties may also agree to stipulate more advantageous conditions for the lessee with respect to the withdrawal of lease.

In conclusion, this Bill puts forth more stringent requirements on the permissible duration for the letting of shared residential spaces and instances such as express renewals, substitutions and additions of tenants. Consensual terminations are also catered for and will be regulated extensively should the Bill pass.

For more information or assistance please contact Dr Robert Tufigno and Dr Delilah Vella.  

Disclaimer This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.
Skip to content