A scheme which will offer affordable rentals to low income earners was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Social Housing Roderick Galdes at a press conference Saturday morning.
The €10 million project will involve the construction of 118 apartments in Fgura and will benefit those who do not qualify for social housing but have difficulties accessing the rental market, Mr Galdes said.
The prices of the apartments will begin at €300 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, moving upwards to €400 a month for a two-bedroom and €500 for a three-bedroom. These rental prices will be fixed for five years.
For people to access this scheme, the cost of the rent each month cannot make up more than a third of their monthly salary, so for a one-bedroom apartment they will need to earn a minimum of €1,000 per month.
Mr Galdes explained their income and the composition of their family will be two factors taken into consideration when applying for an apartment, and tenants will need to undergo a means test every five years.
But those on the social housing list or who can afford to take a loan from the bank to purchase a property will not qualify, he added.
This new concept of housing, which is diffuse in Europe, will be self-financed and is not for profit, he continued.
“The idea would be for the rent payments to go towards the bank loans the authorities have taken to fund the building. After that the revenue generated will go towards further investment in projects of this kind.”
The apartments will be located in the Tal-Patri area in the outer fringes of Fgura. The plans are currently being evaluated by the Planning Authority.
When asked for the completion date of the project, Mr Galdes explained it was too early to be able to give a definite date at this stage.
Housing Authority CEO Leonid McKay said that the state doesn’t only have a role to provide social housing but also to provide affordable housing and to stabilize the rental market.
He continued that this was just one of the measures implemented by the authority intended to help those who are having trouble accessing affordable housing.
“Last year we discussed rent benefits and that a family cannot spend over a quarter of its income on housing.”
“Now we realise that cash benefits are not enough alone but we also need a stock of affordable housing,” Mr McKay explained.
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