The Long-Lasting Legacy of Rent Controls: Perspectives on the Private Rental Market in Malta within the Context of a Dual Market
Keywords:Private rental market, rent controls, rent reforms, housing market, Malta
Up to a few years ago, the private rental market in Malta was a classic example of the dysfunction created by two diametrically opposed regimes – a rigidly-controlled one and a completely liberal one – co-existing side by side. Two recent reforms have sought to address this situation. The objective of this paper is to describe the state-of-play in the private rental market in Malta by providing a historical background to these recent developments. In addition to the distortions in the housing market that rent controls introduce, controls also contributed to the deterioration of the statistical infrastructure to collect data on this sector. From this perspective, the introduction of the 2020 rent reform for the post-1995 sector, in addition to providing a set of minimum standards to professionalize the market, also facilitated data collection efforts through the introduction of a rent register. This information provided an alternative source of information to complement the other data sources, which tend to be outdated, inadequate, or focus solely on specific segments of the market, thus allowing for a more detailed and complete view of the private rental market in Malta.
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