There are many property related matters for which you would could require the services of the team of Sultana Legal. A large number of subjects are property related matters and it would be too much to describe everything on one page. Therefore we describe some of the property related matters on this page while the subject of purchasing immovable property in Malta is discussed on a separate page. Sultana Legal invites its clients to get in contact regarding questions related to property one owns or one wants to buy or rent. Also property related matters whereby one wants to transfer a property or in case of the letting or the lease of a property Sultana Legal can draw up the appropriate contracts. Together with you the team of Sultana Legal will discuss the best way to handle any case where your wishes and the specifics of the case will be central.
A Konvenju is also called a Promise of Sale or Preliminary. By Law, one can immediately appear on a final contract of sale in order to sell and/or buy immovable property in the Maltese Islands, without the need of entering into a preliminary agreement (also referred to as promise of sale agreement or Konvenju). However, in the majority of cases, the prospective Vendor/s and the prospective Buyer/s enter into a preliminary agreement, usually drawn up by a Notary Public.
On the preliminary agreement, a sum of money is paid by the Buyer to the Vendor, usually being 10% of the purchase price. It is the way in which the money paid is described in the said agreement that determines its status. If it is described as an ‘on account payment’, it is considered to be a part payment of the purchase price, and therefore both parties have the right to sue for specific performance meaning the right to sue for the promise of sale to be finalized in a contract of sale. If on the other hand it is described as ‘earnest/kapparra’ this means that both parties have the right to opt out of the agreement however paying compensation to the other party. This compensation is usually the amount of deposit paid, so if the buyer opts out he loses the deposit, if the vendor opts out he gives back the deposit given to him by the buyer on the promise of sale plus the same amount as compensation.
The law places an obligation upon the parties to register the promise of sale with the Commissioner for Inland Revenue together with a payment of 20% of the duty (often working out as 1% of the purchase/selling price) to be due on the final deed; if this is not done within 21 days of its signing, the konvenju expires. Very often, the Notary having been empowered by the parties to register the konvenju on their behalf, collects the 20% of the total tax due and carries out the procedure for them. What is paid on the promise of sale is therefore part of the payment of the duty due on the final contract of sale/acquisition.
After entering into a promise of sale there are various conditions which need to be satisfied and verified:
1. The Notary carries out the searches (see below under the heading Searches) about the property and verifies legal title and it is verified that there are no outstanding debts, hypothecs or liens on the property.
2. that the property being sold, is built according to its building permit at its time of construction;
3. that the vendor has valid and good title according to Law;
4. that there are no legal claims, litigation or orders, which can impair or withhold the eventual sale;
5. whether the property lies in a compulsory registration area or not. This is verified at the Department of Land Registry in Malta after submitting a search called ‘Form E’ bearing an official site-plan marked by the Architect as appointed by the Purchaser, and
6. if any permit is required relative to the Vendor and/or the Purchaser, for example if an acquisition of immovable property permit is required in terms of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta, an application has to be made to enable the eventual purchaser to buy the property (this permit is required if the purchasers are non-EU citizens or EU citizens who have not lived continuously in Malta for five years, unless the EU citizens are purchasing their primary residence in Malta). The notary normally applies for this permit on behalf of the purchasers;
Most often, one needs to order searches relative to a particular individual/company in order to ascertain certain information such as inheritance and property issues. The most common reason for ordering searches is to ascertain ownership by the vendor prior to one engaging to buy a property. Such a request, of course, comes at a cost and the payment depends on the type of information needed.
Searches relative to Individuals and companies can be ordered at the Public Registry Searches Unit at Casa Bolino, 116 West Street, Valletta. In order to order such searches, one needs to supply the following details:-
• Name and Surname of Individual/Name of the Company and Registration Number
• Father’s Name and Surname
• Mother’s Name and Maiden Surname
• Place of Birth
• Spouses’ Name in case of married women
Redemption of ground rent.
This special feature under Maltese law emenated from the Civil Code – Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta, whereby a person who holds property under the title of perpetual emphytuesis[utilista] can avail himself/herself of the faculty to the redemption of ground rent from the Dominus [the owner] by depositing the said ground rent, capitalised according to the law, in court. This will render the person [utilista] the ownership of the property in this case without the burden of the ground rent.
An emphytuesis (ground rent) can be temporary which cannot be redeemed and perpetual but revisable which can only be redeemed in the year of revision.
There are different features related to ground rent, however one has to analise every case by going through each contract until one finds the original grant of perpetual empytuesis. This will determine if and how redemption of ground rent can be done.
Sultana Legal will assist our client through the process of redemption of ground rent which will render the property freehold from any burdens of ground rent which, as a consequence, will give more value to the property.