Fabian Demicoli

The 2015 Valletta Shops Scheme

GRTU welcomes the new scheme for Government owned Valletta shops launched by the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Hon. Michael Falzon on Thursday 7th May 2015. Government owned shops will benefit from the option to enter into a deed of emphyteusis (cens) for 45 years. 
 
The option for shop owners to sign a deed of cens in lieu of a long lease was the GRTU’s brainchild, which saw the light of day after several meetings and

presentations made to Government over a span of two years. The GRTU contended that this will unlock a huge amount of collateral which will result in a much needed boost for Valletta shops, and will transpire into more employment, renovations and other investments made to the retail sector in our capital city.

 
 
Moreover GRTU contends that the success of this Scheme could eventually be extended to the rest of Malta and Gozo to strengthen the retails sector nationwide.
 
GRTU is pleased to inform its members that after various meetings held with Hon. Michael Falzon, most of our proposals have been taken on board and the terms and conditions contained in the Scheme are the following:
 
  • All Valletta Government owned retail outlets that are operated by tenants both under a title of lease (kera) as well as emphyteusis (cens), will now be eligible to submit an application under the SHOPS SCHEME. The Hon. Falzon said that applications will be open on Monday 11th May 2015 and will offer the opportunity for tenants to use their shops as security when they seek finance.  A €500 non-refundable administration fee will apply. GRTU proposed that this fee should be deductible as an expense in the tenant’s income tax return for the following year, however this is still to be confirmed.
  • Applicants will benefit from a term of emphyteusis (cens) of 45 years;
  • Government will accept applicants who can provide either a clear root of title of how they possess the premises or in lieu thereof, an affidavit detailing their acquired rights over the premises;
  • Government will not accept conflicting applications over the same premises;
  • Government will grant tenants the right to enter into the deed of cens as a limited liability company where the tenant is a private individual, and vice versa without the payment of a laudemium;
 
The rates will be the following:
 
Zone 1 Ground floor

€500 per square metre

Zone 2 Ground floor

€300 per square metre

Zone 3 Ground floor

€100 per square metre

Zone 4 Ground floor

€20 per square metre

All Zones Basement

1/9 of the ground floor rate

All Zones 1st floor

1/3 of the ground floor rate

All Zones 2nd, 3rd floor and any additional floor

1/4 of the ground floor rate

  • The rates will be calculated on actual floor space therefore excluding columns, shafts etc;
  • The rates will increase by 10% every five years. This increase is a flat rate and will not be subject to any cost of living adjustments;
  • Future transfers of the title over the premises will be allowed against the payment of a laudemium to Government equivalent to one year’s cens;
  • Government reserves the right to refuse any application at its sole discretion;
  • Transfers by inheritance inter vivos/causa mortis will not attract a laudemium;
  • Any existing leases or cens having rates higher than those introduced by the Scheme will remain unchanged, in the sense that the Scheme will not be used as a means of reducing the rate of lease/cens previously contracted;
  • Properties subject to the conditions of the agreement with the Holy See (Vatican/Joint Office) will remain subject to those conditions in the new deed of cens;
  • The premises can be subdivided (split) solely following the consent by Government;
  • Tenants will have to provide Insurance cover for the cost of reconstruction and contents;
  • The Scheme will be open for 12 months;
 
The following areas will be excluded for the Scheme:
 
  1. City Gate Arcade;
  2. St. John’s Cathedral proximity;
  3. Old University Building;
  4. All kiosks (not only City Gate but anywhere in Valletta);
 
  • Government will endeavor to facilitate the relocation if possible of any shops in these locations which will need to be relocated, most significantly those in the proximity of St. John’s Cathedral. 
  • Government at this stage will nonetheless not be granting any compensation to tenants who will need to be evicted due to impending projects.
 

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