Court rules fam­ily re­ceived un­just com­pen­sa­tion for apart­ment in St Ju­lian’s

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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