The status quo in the private rental sector is not sustainable, but in spite of this, the government’s White Paper does not go far enough, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry said on Monday.

It also warned against building to cater for foreign workers, as these properties might be left vacant once the economic growth slows down.

“Despite the scale and significance of the issues being faced by all parties involved in Malta’s private rental sector, the White Paper fell short of expectations in providing concrete, long-lasting solutions that effectively overcome the issues causing the current situation,” it said in a statement, following the presentation of a detailed report outlining its suggestions.

The document was formulated following an extensive internal and external consultation process on the subject, as a reaction to the government’s White Paper titled ‘Renting as a Housing Alternative’.

“The [notable year-on-year economic growth] has benefited the country significantly from an output perspective, but it is also cause for substantial stress on the country’s infrastructure and most notably, on the housing market.

“The current situation is characterised mainly by the fact that the shortage of workers is being matched by a shortage of affordable accommodation. However, the Chamber firmly believes that due to the irreversible nature of construction, it would be detrimental to the country to flood the market with new residential property that may remain vacant when the economic cycle eventually turns,” the Chamber said.

The chamber statement comes just a day after the prime minister said that foreign workers should have appropriate working and living conditions.

These are the Chamber's main recommendations:

• re-assessment of the IIP programme’s property investment eligibility criteria;
• a thorough audit of all private and public vacant property followed by efforts and incentives to place said resources to good use and form part of the rental property market;
• a clear and directional role for the Planning Authority in ensuring supply of affordable permanent housing that addresses the needs of today and those planned for the future through policies and initiatives that promote the satisfaction of urgent market priorities while guiding/advising the market on any risk of specific potential unfeasible land uses;
• implementation of the reforms proposed by the Malta Chamber and other bodies in 2018 related to Pre-June 1995 leased residential properties;
• feasible, effective and reversible housing solutions that create immediate supply of affordable, comfortable yet reversible accommodation.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.