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Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes meets up with representatives of the online gaming sector to discuss the rent reform White Paper

Rising rents have been a concern for the gaming industry that employs a large number of foreigners who live in rented accomodation.

A rental contract registration system would benefit the market as the gaming industry feels the pinch of rising rents, an industry representative said.

Enrico Bradamente, chairperson of iGen, an organisation representing gaming companies, said the industry welcomed the rent reform White Paper.

He was meeting Housing Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes on Monday morning as part of the ongoing consultation process on the White Paper.

Bradamente said rising rental prices were an issue for gaming companies and their employees.

“Unfortunately, rental prices are affecting Malta’s competitiveness in the gaming industry, and so resolving the issue would be great,” the iGEN chairperson said.

Although the White Paper steers clear from determining the level of rent, it proposes capped annual increases and long-let contracts with fiscal advantages for landlords who adhere to these conditions.

Another proposal is to make the registration of rental contracts obligatory, bringing a measure of control to the market.

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Bradamente said that creating a rental registration policy would benefit the gaming sector immensely.

He added that regulation of estate agencies was also long-overdue and should be implemented as quickly as possible.

Bradamente also said that the increased availability of one-bedroom apartments in areas with close proximity to gaming companies’ offices like St Julians and Sliema, should be central to the parliamentary secretary’s work as part of the reform.

The gaming industry employs a lot of foreigners, who live in rented accomodation. Most companies are concentrated in the Sliema-St Julians area with gaming employees taking up residence in the neighbouring localities.

He said that gaming companies believed that the White Paper did not touch enough on tax evasion. “A more transparent system would be of benefit to both tenants and landlords.”

Galdes welcomed the feedback and said that providing a transparent system is the secretariat’s top priority.

He said the secretariat was not inclined towards regulation of rental prices, as history has proven that when the government meddled with it, the results were not positive.

“We believe in price stability. The whitepaper is based on statistics and facts, that is why with ongoing discussions we hope to finally provide a reform that not only benefits the tenants but also the landlords,” he said.

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