SME Chamber

RENT Reform…we beg to differ


 On Saturday 3rd January Hon Tonio Borg, Deputy Prime Minister, stated that "the recent Bill on Rent Reform has been received with general consensus and approval" he also stated that this "reform … constitute a fair deal to all stakeholders, they allay the fear of the lessees who are used to cheap rental protect.

GRTU begs to differ.

GRTU is the major stakeholder on Rented Commercial Properties. No effective consultation has been held with GRTU on a reform that drastically affects a large number of GRTU members. The Hon Tonio Borg knows that this is the truth. Many small business owners will by 2010 (and not in 20 yrs time as the propaganda goes) will be thrown out of their long established family business.

It is a shame that Government, hopefully not with the support of the opposition, continues to press ahead with a reform which rather than "allays the fears of the lessees" sends these lessees literally to the dogs.

GRTU objects and will continue to object until a decent settlement is reached. The National Stakeholder on Commercial Rented Property representing lessees is one: GRTU.

In addition below is the interview Director General Vincent Farrugia gave to Business Today on the subject.

GRTU Director-General Vince Farrugia said the bill is "anti-business" and it came at a "very bad time".
"It will surely lead to the closure of many small businesses who have faithfully served the community in many localities for many generations," he insisted.
Mr. Farrugia also said the bill furthered what happened in 1995 and now Malta would have "the most liberal anti-small business commercial rent laws of all the EU Member States.
"It's a sad day for SMEs in Malta," Farrugia told Business Today. "It comes at a time when the European Commission is launching the Small Business Act and DG Enterprise is instigating Member State governments to provide more security and safeguards to SME's".
In Malta, a substantial number of small businesses had security of tenure under the pre-1995 rent laws, which were not as prohibitive as recent propaganda made it out to be. Now this is being removed.

"For many small businesses, the removal will be effective as from June 2010 and not as wrongly promised by government in 20 years time. Many small business owners have been badly cheated. They trusted the politicians and they are now abandoned," he said.

The consultation process left much to be desired. GRTU is the representative of SMEs in Malta however Government felt we were not to be given any priority and one to one meetings. Out of the several we requested only one meeting was granted back when the white paper was issued. For all the other meetings GRTU was asked to submit its other comments in writing and no meeting was granted.

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