GUG on the gov­ern­ment’s brochure show­ing Malta’s av­er­age rental prices

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

A public brochure made of­fi­cial the av­er­age rental prices around Malta. Along with the rest of our na­tion, GUG is con­cerned about these rates and their im­pli­ca­tions for Goz­i­tan stu­dents. Most im­por­tantly, these rates jus­tify the fact that cur­rent poli­cies favour for­eign­ers, who have higher bud­gets than our own.

It is not rocket sci­ence. The most pop­u­lar choice of ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion for Maltese stu­dents is the Univer­sity of Malta or MCAST. These en­ti­ties in­volve early morn­ing lec­tures and late night lec­tures, as late as 8pm. Liv­ing at your par­ent’s house a bus ride away will be time con­sum­ing, let alone hav­ing to cross the chan­nel to get to and from these lec­tures. This is why most Goz­i­tan stu­dents opt for rental ac­com­mo­da­tion in Malta. This gives stu­dents more time for their stud­ies out­side of Univer­sity, and ul­ti­mately more free time.

Up till now, Goz­i­tan stu­dents have man­aged to live in small apart­ments, whose land­lords de­cided to cramp in more ten­ants than the jus­ti­fied space. Un­for­tu­nately, this year we have met a grow­ing num­ber of Goz­i­tan stu­dents who were not able to rent a room or apart­ment close to their place of ed­u­ca­tion for fi­nan­cial rea­sons. In other words, 18 year olds will leave home at 6am to get to Uni by 8am, and if fac­ing evening lec­tures, get­ting home around 10pm.

The Gov­ern­ment helps these stu­dents fi­nan­cially by giv­ing them €500 ev­ery three months. A one bed­room apart­ment shared be­tween two peo­ple in the cen­tral area is rented at €700, which means that ev­ery three months the land­lord col­lects €2,100.

Con­sid­er­ing that the apart­ment is shared be­tween two stu­dents, it will leave a bur­den of around €1,100 shared be­tween two house­holds ev­ery three months, or €4,400 a year. The results of these rental rates are many: • Fit­ting more peo­ple that the size of the apart­ment per­mits just so the rent can be­come cheaper • Stu­dents trav­el­ling to and from Gozo, leav­ing them with less time to work on their stud­ies at home and there­fore drop­ping grades • House­holds, es­pe­cially those with low in­come or have one bread win­ner, ex­pe­ri­ence great fi­nan­cial bur­dens • Goz­i­tan stu­dents quit try­ing to pro­ceed with their stud­ies be­cause of all the draw­backs they face

There are some so­lu­tions to the mat­ter: • Adopt a price ceil­ing on rental

rates • Pro­vide hous­ing con­cept in the cen­tral area, where such stu­dents can sim­ply rent de­cent rooms with desks and shared kitchens/liv­ing areas • Up­grade and start mak­ing use of the Univer­sity cam­pus in Gozo to make it more eas­ier for nearby stu­dents • In­crease mon­e­tary aid to­wards

Goz­i­tan stu­dents

It is dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment such poli­cies. For in­stance, who wants a price ceil­ing when land­lords can rent an apart­ment to a for­eigner with dou­ble the bud­get of a lo­cal? A neg­a­tive reper­cus­sion to this is the widen­ing gap be­tween those with a low and those with a high stan­dard of liv­ing.

We are liv­ing in a time and age in which for­eign de­mand and in­vest­ment has over­come the im­por­tance of our so­ci­ety’s wel­fare and in which gov­ern­ments are more con­cerned about num­bers than the stan­dard of liv­ing. This is be­ing felt through­out our en­tire na­tion. This ar­ti­cle will most prob­a­bly fall on deaf ears, but it is states the re­al­ity that most peo­ple are liv­ing in.

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