Conditions for buying property in Malta

Dr. Silvana Zammit | 24 Aug 2012

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Citizens of all European Union member states, including therefore Maltese Citizens, who have resided in Malta continuously for a minimum period of five years at any time preceding the date of acquisition may freely acquire immovable property without the necessity of obtaining a permit under Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta.

Citizens of all European Union member states, including therefore Maltese Citizens, who have not resided continuously in Malta for a minimum period of five years may only purchase their primary residence or any immovable property required for their business activities or supply of services without the necessity of obtaining a permit under Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta.

Citizens of all European Union member states, including therefore Maltese Citizens, who have not resided continuously in Malta for a minimum period of five years, require a permit under Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta to acquire immovable property for secondary residence purposes.

Individuals who are not citizens of a European Member state may not acquire any immovable property unless they are granted a permit in terms of Chapter 246 of the Laws of Malta.

There are defined zones in Mata, referred to as special designated areas, where there are absolutely no restrictions to acquisition. There is also no restriction on acquisition through inheritance and there are also several other special exemptions. Different rules apply to the acquisition by bodies of persons.

The following table illustrates the position for physical person (individuals):

  Maltese and EU Citizens - both with 5 years continuous residence in Malta Maltese and EU Citizens - without 5 years continuous residence in Malta Others
Primary Residence1 No restrictions - No need to apply No restrictions - No need to apply Prior authorisation is required*
Secondary Residence or any other immovable property2 No restrictions - No need to apply Prior authorisation is required* Prior authorisation is required*
Causa Mortis devolutions No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required
Grave or site No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required
Redemption of groundrent No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required No prior authorisation is required
Property in a Special Designated Area No prior authorisation is required and no limit No prior authorisation is required and no limit No prior authorisation is required and no limit
Divided or undivided share in immovable property where person had previously acquired a share in such immovable property in accordance with the provision of this Act No prior authorisation is required and no limit No prior authorisation is required and no limit No prior authorisation is required and no limit
Transfer of immovable property in an inheritance between co-heirs No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit
Partition of immovable property between co-owners No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit
Donation of immovable property to a spouse, descendant or an ascendant in the direct line and their relative spouses - in the absence of descendants to a brother or sister and their descendants No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit
Immovable Property required for the person's business activities' or supply of services by such person No prior authorisation is required - No limit No prior authorisation is required - No limit No permit granted unless required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta

Acquisition of Property by bodies of persons

A body of persons, other than a commercial partnership, established in and operating from an European Union member state may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up as long as it is directly controlled by citizens of a European Union member state.

A commercial partnership established in and operating from an European Union member state (therefore including Malta) may freely acquire immovable property that is required for the purpose for which it has been set up and at least 75% of its share capital is held by a person (or persons) who is a European Union Member state citizen.

Any other body of persons will require a permit which is only granted if the property is required for an industrial or touristic project or as a contributor to the development of the economy of Malta.

* A permit will not be granted if applicant has already acquired immovable property in Malta; other conditions also apply.


1 This presupposes a change of ordinary residence if the purchaser is not already a resident of Malta.

2 This would typically include holiday homes where there is no change of ordinary residence.

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