On Friday 1st April, the amendment to the Civil Code in relation to the sale of inherited immovable property came into effect. Prior to the amendment, inherited immovable property could be sold after ten years from being inherited when at least 51% of the heirs were in agreement with regards to its sale. Following the amendment, such property can now be sold after 3 years of being inherited, after an application has been submitted to the Courts of Malta and when more than 50% of the heirs are in agreement about its sale and the Court deems that the interest of the rest of the heirs is not compromised by the sale.
The main aim of this amendment is to reduce the number of vacant properties around the island, which currently stands at over 41,000. As these properties were remaining closed up and unsold for numerous years due to disagreements about their sale, they ended up falling into a state of dereliction and becoming the target of vandalism. The amendment to the Civil Code was one of the measures proposed in the Budget 2016, which was accepted by the parliament after a second reading.