Tenants of commercial properties leased from the government whose emphyteusis is due to expire after the end of August 2025 will be able to have this renewed for another 65 years.

The initiative follows the publication of a legal notice under the Government Lands Act, which outlines the conditions under which temporary emphyteusis may be extended.

An estimated 200 tenants are expected to be eligible for the Lands Authority scheme, which opens on October 5.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said the objective behind the initiative was to encourage tenants of commercial properties to invest further, as extending their emphyteusis would make it easier for them to secure a bank loan.

He pointed out that prior to the issuing of the legal notice the Lands Authority could only renew the emphyteusis before it expired.

“Consequently, tenants having 20 to 30 years left on the lease were being declined a bank loan and premises were being left neglected,” the minister said.

Under the conditions of the scheme, however, tenants whose lease is going expire before August 31, 2025 will be unable to seek an extension.

Borg said the cut off date was in line with government's policy to leave open the possibility of retrieving properties at the end of their lease. He added that, in such cases, the tenants would still be granted the right to first refusal should the property be leased again.

As for cases eligible for a 65-year extension, the property will be leased at the current market prices.

However, parliament will have the final say as each application will be considered by the National Audit Office Accounts Committee.

A fee of €1,000 will apply for each application, apart from other expenses.  

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