The enactment of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta prohibiting the acquisition of immovable property by non-residents imposes a number of requirements to be satisfied by those non-residents who intend to purchase immovable property in Malta.
In terms of the Act, Citizens of Malta and any other European Member State who have been residing in Malta continuously for a minimum period of five years, preceding the acquisition of the immovable property are able to purchase immovable property in Malta without the need of obtaining an Acquisition of Immovable Property Permit, which is issued by the Minister responsible for Finance, in terms of the Act. This shall also apply to the spouse of a citizen of Malta or another European Union Member State, where such spouses acquire together immovable property in Malta.
If such persons have not been residing in Malta continuously for a minimum period of five years, they may only acquire immovable property without the need to obtain such permit if the immovable property is acquired as their primary residence or else, for the purpose of carrying out of such person’s business activities, or the supply of services. For non-residents who wish to acquire immovable property as a secondary residence then attainment of an AIP permit is obligatory.
An AIP permit is also required by those individuals who are not citizens of a European Member state.
In the case of companies and other bodies of persons, there are different sets of rules which apply. A body of persons other than a commercial partnership, established in and operating from a European Union member state may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up as long as 75% of its share capital is held by a person(s) who is a European Union Member state citizen.
Any other body of persons will require a permit which is only granted if the property is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.
The restrictions imposed by the Act do not apply to Special Designated Areas and therefore, acquisition of immovable property by any person, wherever resident, does not require the AIP permit.
The Special Designated Areas are the following:
- Cottonera Development, Cottonera
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tigne
- Fort Chambray
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
- Madliena Villiage Complex
- Manoel Island/Tigne Point
- Metropolis Plaza, Gzira
- Pender Place and Mercury House site
- Pender Place and Mercury House site, Extensions I, II, III, IV, and V St Julians
- Portomaso Development, St. Julians
- Portomsaso Extension I, St. Julians
- Ta’ Monita Residence Marsascala
- Tas-Sellum Residence (Mellieha Project)
- Vista Point, Marsalforn Gozo
After the buyer identifies the immovable property to be acquired, a promise of sale agreement has to be entered into by the said buyer, and a copy of such agreement must be attached to the AIP application form. Usually, the application takes 35 days to be processed and a fee of €233 must be paid on application.
The main conditions imposed on the permit are the following:
- Immovable property is to be used for residential purposes
- A copy of the notarial deed is to be submitted to the AIP section after its publication
- The immovable property may not be sold in part, or otherwise into more than one dwelling in Designated Special Areas.
For non-residents to purchase immovable property, the minimum immovable property price is that of €110,469 for the purchase of a flat or maisonette and €184, 469 for the purchase of any other immovable property. Furthermore, non-residents may neither purchase more than one immovable property in Malta, unless it is situated in Designated Special Areas, nor rent out immovable property acquired by an AIP permit. Notwithstanding the above, the Minister responsible for Finance may issue a permit to any non-resident person, if certain requirements are met.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Our firm specialises in assistance related to real estate transactions.
We can assist clients with the purchase of both residential and commercial Immovable property in Malta, including assistance with the Promise of Sale, verification of title, review of searches, execution of the agreement, appearing on behalf of clients’ behalf, searches into liabilities, handling of payments, and handling of taxation of the transaction.
We also regularly assist with the attainment of the AIP permit where necessary.