by Dr Mary Rose Micallef – Junior Associate
Legal Notice 216 of 2019 – published yesterday (27 August 2019) introduced a refurbished set of rules in respect of the process redemption of land belonging to the Government or to the Lands Authority under a title of revisable perpetual emphyteusis.
These rules are made not to modify or alter in any way the applicable provisions with respect to redemptions that concern private party owners (dominus).
Revisable ground rent means that the payable ground rent is not fixed up to a certain, but is revised every number of years, according to the revisability rules that were expressed in the original ground rent concession contract. Revisability rules often imply that the ground rent in question may be redeemed upon the lapse of certain years – for instance at the lapse of 50 years from date of the original concession. The general rule is that the ground rent would only be redeemable (jista’ jinfeda) during the year of revision.
These new regulations have pulled government property out of this general principle. Now, any person who holds a property subject to revisable perpetual ground rent rights in favour of the Government may request redemption at any time. Needless to say, the conditions other than the payment of the groundrent as imposed in the original concession shall nonetheless remain valid.
The applicant requesting the redemption must essentially be a citizen of the European Union, recognised as an emphyteuta by the Authority (or is awaiting such recognition by the Authority), and must prove that no ground rent arrears are due.
To this effect the following documentation must be made available upon requesting a redemption:
1. a copy of the last receipt of payment of ground rent;
2. if the applicant is not recognised as an emphyteuta the applicant must provide the relative deed that has conferred upon him the title of emphyteuta;
3. a detailed plan of the site that shall be redeemed;
4. copy of a site plan issued by the Land Registry;
5. copy of identity card(s) of the applicant(s);
6. photographs bearing the time and date that show the land/site/building in its present condition;
7. a survey showing the property and the existing road alignment.
These regulations further provide that the rate of redemption shall be as set out in the original concession. However, if no rate is specified the redemption sum to be paid shall be shall be equal to the amount of the ground rent thus revised, according to the index of inflation taken from the year preceding the submission of the application pursuant to these regulations and the rate of the ground rent from the year prior to the creation of the contract of perpetual emphyteusis capitalised at the rate of five per cent (5%).
These regulations clarify once and for all how the redemption is to be made. It has been customary for the Lands Authority not to accept the redemption of ground rent through a schedule of deposit in terms of article 1501 of the Civil Code.
This custom is now law. Redemption shall always be made by means of a public deed.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be considered as legal advice, and is not to be acted on as such. Should you require further information or legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Dr Mary Rose Micallef on firstname.lastname@example.org.