Foreigners made homeless despite paying €16,000 rent
Sixteen young foreigners were made homeless last week when they were evicted for not paying their rent, despite having paid more than €16,000 to a middleman.
Nobody has assumed blame as the spokesman for the Paceville resort where they were staying said that contractual payments were not honoured by the German agent, who in turn threatened to open a court case against the hotel.
The Sunday Times met six Dutch and German student interns yesterday, who said they each signed a contract with the company Malta Rooms and paid sums of between €950 and €2,115 to cover their deposits and rent for the duration of their stays.
The interns, who arrived in Malta on different dates over the past few months, were placed by Malta Rooms in shared apartments at La Vallette Resort in Paceville.
They were unaware of any problems with rent payments until they arrived back from work last Monday and found messages on their doors telling them to contact the manager. It turned out there was a dispute between Malta Rooms and La Vallette Resort.
According to the interns, when they called the manager on Monday, they were informed that their rent for November had not been paid and if they did not pay it they would have to move out.
They met with the manager the following morning at 9am and when they said they would not pay more money they were informed they would have to move out within one hour.
“It was such a shock. Some of us had to check into different hotels while others managed to stay with friends,” said 19-year-old Dutch intern Manuela Smits.
“When I went to hand in my keys at the reception, I saw that the police were there because some people were refusing to leave,” she added.
The interns filed a complaint about their eviction at St Julian’s police station last Monday. The police did not respond to questions sent by The Sunday Times about the case.
The interns who met with this newspaper yesterday are in Malta until December and January, but all of them considered leaving early because of their eviction.
“My parents were really worried and wanted me to go home,” said Ms Smits, as the others nodded their heads and told similar stories.
They have repeatedly tried to contact the owner of Malta Rooms, a German woman named Jasmin Voss.
Ms Voss has been ignoring their calls, but she did send them an SMS offering them new accommodation which they would have to pay for.
Tatjana Koch, a 25-year-old German, said she saw Ms Voss in person last Thursday after Ms Voss herself had filed a police report against La Vallette Resort.
“She (Ms Voss) seemed very emotional and distressed about the whole thing,” said Ms Koch.
Ms Voss has sought legal advice and yesterday said she would file a court case against La Vallette Resort to seek legal remedies for her clients and her business.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologise publicly to my clients who were victims of this incident,” she said.
However, she would not say how much of the money paid to Malta Rooms by the interns had been paid to La Vallette Resort.
A spokesman for La Vallette Resort said Ms Voss “has not honoured the contractual payments she agreed to on behalf of malta-rooms.com”.
The spokesman said the resort did not ask the interns to pay for past accommodation dues owed by Malta Rooms, and they offered the young foreigners the chance to remain in their apartments if they were willing to pay the resort directly from last Monday onwards. The resort also said it gave the interns three days’ notice before their eviction, a claim denied by the students.
La Vallette Resort filed a complaint against Ms Voss at St Julian’s police station on November 10
The evicted interns are unsure of who is to blame, “but we have lost a lot of money and want it back from whoever is responsible,” said Ms Koch.