Restrictions to the Acquisition of Real Estate in Malta
The acquisition of property in Malta may be subject to certain restrictions which apply to persons who are not citizens of Malta or of any other Member State of the European Union who have not resided in Malta for a minimum period of 5 years during their lifetime. Where such restrictions apply, buyers must apply for a permit to acquire property, in terms of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta, namely the Immovable Property (Acquisition by Non-Residents) Act or, the “AIP Act”.
Citizens of all EU member states who have resided in Malta continuously for a minimum period of five years at any time preceding the date of acquisition should be able to freely property without the necessity of obtaining an AIP permit for such acquisition.
Citizens of all EU member states can purchase their primary residence or any immovable property required for their business activities or supply of services without an AIP permit, regardless of the period that such persons have spent in Malta. The acquisition of any other property (whether a secondary residence or other business property) by such persons will require an AIP permit.
Individuals who are not citizens of a European Member state may not acquire any property unless they are granted a permit.
It is important to note that properties falling within “Special Designated Areas” are exempt from the restrictions set out in the AIP Act. These areas represent recently constructed developments intended to provide top-end residential properties. It is therefore possible for any non-EU citizen to acquire multiple properties within such Special Designated Areas. Such properties are also exempt from any restriction on acquisition through inheritance and there are also several other special exemptions.
Special Designated Areas
The Special Designated Areas are the following:
- Portomaso Development, St. Julian’s, Malta
- Portomaso Extension I, St Julians, Malta
- Cottonera Development, Cottonera, Malta
- Manoel Island / Tigne Point, Tigne/ Gzira, Malta
- Tas-Sellum Residence, Mellieha, Malta
- Madliena Village Complex, Malta
- Smartcity, Malta
- Fort Cambridge Zone, Tignè, Malta
- Ta’ Monita Residence, Marsascala, Malta
- Pender Place and Mercury House Site, Malta
- Metropolis Plaza, Gzira, Malta
- Fort Chambray, Ghajnsielem, Gozo
- Kempinski Residences, San Lawrenz, Gozo
Companies and other bodies of persons are subject to a different set of rules. Where such company or body is established in and operating from an EU member state, such entity may freely acquire real estate that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up provided that 75% of its share capital is held by a person (or persons) who is a citizen of an EU member state and who has resided in Malta continuously for a minimum period of 5 years.
Any other body of persons will require a permit which will only be granted if the property is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.
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NOTE: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided above, you are advised to seek professional advice prior to entering into any commitment in respect of the acquisition of any property in Malta to ensure the applicability or otherwise of any restrictions to your own personal circumstances.