Developers do not only work for profit

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Contrary to media reports, MDA President Sandro Chetcuti said in his speech at the meeting between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and members of the MDA last Tuesday:

(Developers) are ‘doers’, Prime Minister. They are people who do not only work for profit. The people you have in front of you, Prime Minister, are people who take pride in their work, who have the passion to do things right.

Dawn huma nies ‘doers’, Prim Ministru. Dawn huma nies li ma jaħdmux biss għall-profitti. In-nies li għandek quddiemek, Prim Ministru, huma nies li għandhom in-namur tax-xogħol; għandhom il-passjoni u l-pride illi jagħmlu l-affarijiet sewwa.”

PM holds discussion with MDA members

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told members of the Malta Developers Association that he continues to question certain bureaucratic procedures and whether they offer solutions to real problems. He was addressing 200 members and guests of the MDA at an event with the theme ‘Discussion for further Progress’ at the Bella Vista Hotel in Qawra.

“This was one of the best years in this sector,” Dr Muscat said. “The merit is yours. Your association gave us a number of proposals which we accepted.”

One of these was the elimination of stamp duty for first time buyers. He committed himself to coming up with other sustainable incentives to bring developments of quality.

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The Malta Developers Association (MDA) refers to the new rental scheme launched by the Housing Authority through which property owners can rent their premises to the authority, which will then sublease it to tenants at subsidised rates.

The idea of using existing vacant building stock for rents to persons who qualify for social assistance in housing originated from one of the many suggestions made to Government before the Budget by the MDA, which had also suggested that a fixed rent for a predetermined period could be incentivised by a reduction in income tax from rents, as actually indicated in the announced scheme.

However, instead of allowing for a free rental market with tenants dealing directly with owners and then registering the lease when applying for subsidy, the scheme has become one where owners lease to the Housing Authority, which in turn sub-leases to the tenants.

This is in fact a major obstacle for the success of the scheme. Owners would normally seek to know who the prospective tenants are before they enter into a rental agreement and should not be obliged to accept anyone who obtains a sub-lease from the Housing Authority.

This would have avoided a lot of expensive bureaucracy and expenses on the part of the Authority, which will now be responsible for potential damages made to properties by its sub-lease holders.

With the announced scheme the property owners concerned will lose all control of their property and what happens to it, much as what used to happen in the past in the case of requisition orders.

It is a pity that such a good initiative has been smothered at its inception in this way rather than being allowed to flourish, something that would not have happened had the Housing Authority consulted interested stakeholders before finalising the scheme.