Court rules family received unjust compensation for apartment in St Julian’s
The court has ordered the Attorney General in its competence representing the Maltese government to give €10,000 in compensation to a family which claimed it was not given the just amount of money for an apartment rented in Paceville Avenue, St Julian’s.
Judge Silvio Meli heard how the Magro family inherited a piece of land which they converted into a block of eight apartments. The case goes back to 1966, when the block of flats, Verdala Flats, was handed to a certain Joseph Wismayer with a 17-year emphyteutic lease. Ten years later, the family decided to split the apartments between them and one of the flats was given to Fedele Magro.
The concession by a temporary lease to Mr Wismayer was terminated in January 1983 but it was only then that the family realised that this same apartment was being rented out to a certain Alfred McElhatton, a Maltese citizen.
The court heard how an article in the law had forbidden Mr Magro from re-establishing the ownership of the apartment after the lease. The law stated that the rent of a property without the consent of the owners, denies access and use of that same property by the owners themselves.
“Even though this does not constitute a case of expropriation, it still amounts to forced takeover of the property,” the court heard. Even after the revision of the statute, the rent amounted to €350 each year which the tenant argues is “unrealistic for the property and the prices in those areas.”
Mr Magro argued that he is not being given the just compensation and that the government should provide this compensation.
It is also mentioned how a valuation carried out by architects, have valued the apartment at €4,900 per annum.
The family filed the case against the Attorney General, the Maltese government and the Prime Minister.
Delivering the court’s sentence, Judge Meli ruled that the rent incurred does not constitute a just compensation to the family and declared that the heirs are entitled to compensation from the government. The court ordered the AG to pay the sum of €10,000 in compensation.