Rent Laws to be discussed at Chamber of Advocates’ first Quarterly Law Seminar for 2022

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“A process was initiated in 2006 through which human rights violations against landlords started being addressed, a process that finished or seemed to have finished in 2021. At the same time however, we are still awaiting a final pronouncement on whether the current structure is in conformity with human rights or not,” stated Dr Kurt Xerri, a lecturer within the Department of Civil Law at the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta and a researcher in the field of housing policy and legislation.

Dr Kurt Xerri will be addressing the Chamber of Advocates’ first Quarterly Law Seminar for 2022 on Wednesday, 19th January at 12.00 pm on the subject “The Limits of State Intervention in the Private Rented Sector: Fifteen Years of ECHR and Constitutional Jurisprudence”.

Dr Xerri, who also serves as an advisor to the Housing Authority, pointed out how a series of European Court of Human Rights judgments has also prompted the Constitutional Court to revise its mechanisms for the compensation of damages to victims, following a violation of their human rights. In fact, there is now a much greater emphasis on bringing landlords back in the position they would have enjoyed had the breach not occurred, rather than merely awarding them a nominal sum in recognition of the past injustices suffered.

“This series of European Court of Human Rights decisions have, on a broader, international scale, triggered discussions on the limits of the state’s margin of discretion in the regulation of the private sector, particularly in fixing artificial rent levels below certain thresholds. Locally, the “old rentals saga” has also laid bare certain weaknesses in our Constitutional structure and revealed a certain reluctance by both the judicial and legislative organs to readily adapt to the standards demanded by the Strasbourg Courts” he added.

“In this seminar, we will seek to address questions such as the percentage of free market rent below which a controlled rate would give rise to a violation, the remedies available for landlords in case of the finding of a violation and the recent solutions adopted by the legislator to bring the old rentals policy back in line with the position required by the European Convention on Human Rights,” concluded Dr Xerri.

The Quarterly Law Seminars are an initiative of the Chamber’s Malta Law Academy Foundation, in collaboration with the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta. The MLA seeks to educate the legal and other professions in legal and related studies, as well as provide updates about legal developments in various fields.

The seminar will be held solely online over the Zoom platform and registration is possible through this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/…/reg…/WN_blQf_TrIRZS4CnNJjW6aXw

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