Building over our penthouse

Hello all,

My wife and I bought a modest penthouse in Marsaskala about 10 years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed using the property as a family holiday home and have made lots of Maltese and expat friends here.

Our plan was now to retire here and enjoy the Maltese people, climate and islands.

However, we've just been informed by our building owner that they want to use the 2015 planning authority rule relaxation to add another floor above us and turn our penthouse into an apartment.

Has anyone else been though this process? We're quite familiar with the planning process here so are not convinced that the modification is within the planning guidelines but would appreciate any sharing  experiences of this matter.

Thanks in anticipation,

Whoever owns the airspace above your penthouse has the right to build as many additional floors as permissible by law. If you are not the owner of the airspace, probably (and hopefully) your purchase contract contains a clause stating that you are entitled to own the new top floor unit if other units are built above yours. However, you will have to put up with the inconvenience of having building works going on while you are residing in your current property and/or may have to vacate the property until the new unit is built. Best to check your contract.

Hi lambada,

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

We own the roof but not the airspace so had the 'right to own the uppermost floor' cause inserted into our deeds.

However we've never yet met anyone who can explain how this is implemented ie does it mean that we have first refusal at the builders asking price (which will be lot more than we paid for our apartment)? does it mean that our apartment is swapped for the new one? etc etc

Similarly, who pays for the considerable damage to our apartment when we are 'roofed in'?

Anyone who has experience of this process (and must be many when looking around Malta) would be very welcome to respond.


Sorry to hear of your situation - the current building frenzy is inconveniencing a lot of people ...

I think you will really need to speak to a reliable notary who can confirm for sure what your situation is based on the contract - and even then maybe get a second opinion! I can provide a recommendation if you need (we're in the process of buying a penthouse right now funnily enough).

Hi thanks for taking time to respond😊 I'll certainly take on the services of a notary but was really looking for some individuals who have been through this process. Their experience would allow me to decide whether the cost and hassle involved makes sense from both a financial and emotional standpoint.

I've been through the process ... but a bit more indirectly.

A flat we own had a penthouse above it - then last year they got permits to split the penthouse into 2 apartments and build a new penthouse on top.

The whole process was a nightmare to be honest ... here is a brief list of the issues experienced:

- Construction noise for many months (took about 8 months to complete) .. often beginning around 6:30am (so we had to tell them to stick to the rules ... which state a 7am start!)

- Many water heaters (geysers) in the block were damaged when they switched the water to mains (increased pressure ...)

- Water leaks from the penthouse while they were messing about with the plumbing

- Even more (worse) water leaks from the rains in Autumn because the floor above was not in any way sealed off ... this went on for a couple of months ...

- Cracks to the ceiling and walls which needed a few rounds of decorating to get right

- Loads and loads of dust and mess all the time - you couldn't open the windows

- Builders clogged up the drains with building waste ... took ages to get this solved, damaged all the common areas with more leaks

- Lift got damaged by builders using it to transport goods (despite repeated warnings not to)

- Builders left the main door of the block open all the time ... and our neighbours got burgled ...

Maybe we were just unlucky - a block across from where we live now has had a penthouse floor just added, and they seemd to throw it up in a couple of weeks.

Malta is one construction project: remodeling or building new. The whole real estate market in Malta is hugely overpriced and it is asking for the prices to fall down badly.