The New Licence for Real Estate Agents, Property Brokers and Property Consultants in Malta
A new Act has been enacted recently having as its objective the establishment of a licencing infrastructure for real estate agents, property brokers and property consultants. The law is here seeking to regulate the intermediary role held by the said professionals in the process of negotiating and arranging transactions involving the acquisition, disposition and leasing of land (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Relevant Transactions’). Notably, as from 1st January 2022, any individual who is not vested with a licence and carries on with his profession in this area shall be liable to the substantial fee of €20,000. These licences shall be granted by a newly set up Board and their validity period is for five years, after which a renewal is required.
For the avoidance of doubt, any legal or physical person (i.e. a company or individual) who have an intermediary role in the property business shall also need a licence. One sole exception is made for those individuals who carry out the negotiation and arrangement of the Relevant Transactions on an occasional basis (not more than twice yearly), provided that they do not carry out any advertisement of their services and do not employ/engage anyone to assist them. In this regard, a notification to the Licencing Board shall be the only required criterion.
The eligibility criteria to act as a property broker or real estate agent shall be:
- Minimum age of 18, unless the applicant has been emancipated to trade in compliance with Maltese law; and
- The individual must have obtained an academic certificate in real estate having as its subject matter the legal, financial, technical and communication issues related to real estate, as well as its marketing and sale.
The eligibility criteria to qualify as a property consultant shall be almost the same, with the one sole distinction being that the academic certificate in real estate needs to have eight (8) ECTS instead of twelve (12). This essentially means that the attributed workload to obtain the academic certificate shall be less for the property consultant. Any complete application submitted to the Licencing Board shall be processed within two months. Moreover, the name used by the property broker or real estate agent to operate his/her business must be reserved with the Licencing Board prior to its usage. Failure to do so can be quite detrimental, as a maximum fee of €20,000 has been set up for those who are in breach.
The disqualifying criteria barring an individual from applying for such licences are the following:
- The individual is a bankrupt and has not obtained his order of discharge, or, if he has obtained his order of discharge, it is suspended for a term not yet expired or is subject to conditions not yet fulfilled; or
- having regard to the applicant’s conduct and repute, his financial position, and to the interests of the public, the applicant is not fit and proper person to carry on the activity of property broker or real estate agent.
Should you need any further details, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on [email protected]. We can help you with anything you need in this regard, from the establishment of a real estate agency to the acquisition of these new licences.