Malta Property News


MEPA Use Classes Made Simple!

Understanding the various class systems in relation to property and permits can be tricky. That’s why we’ve simplified the process. The following is an explanation of the 8 MEPA classes which came into play in 2014 and replaced the 1994 classes.

These 8 classes are organised by category so as to make the information easier and more accessible.

The below is a list of all the classes along with a description of each. A list of exceptions and specific amendments is found at the end of the article, so be sure to read it all!

MEPA Use classes

Category A: Residential

Class 1- Dwellings

This is related to private residential property intended for the use of individuals who will be living within the property. This class is therefore non commercial.

Category B: Social

Class 2A- Residential Institutions

This is in relation to organised entities which provide a residential service, such as retirement homes, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Class 2B – Non Residential Institutions

These include any institution which does not provide residency, such as clinics, child care centres, museums, libraries and more.

Class 2C – Education

This would include schools and educational institutions.

Category C: Tourism and leisure

Class 3A- Guest houses, Palazzini, Boutique Tourism accommodation, and Hostels

This class includes any small scale commercial establishment catering for the accommodation of guests.

Class 3B- Hotels

Class 3C- Assembly and Leisure

This includes any commercial entity which brings together a group of people, such as cinemas, bingo halls, gyms, outdoor sports areas, concert halls etc.

Class 3D- Marine Leisure

This class is used for motoring boats, marinas, sailing schools, and any other marine based sports or recreation.

Category D- Commercial

Class 4A- Financial, Professional and Other Offices

This class is related to commercial properties which include offices.

Class 4B- Retail

This class is related to any commercial entity related to retail and retail outlets.

 Class 4C- Food and Drink establishment where no cooking is allowed

It is important to note that with this class the commercial entity is not allowed to cook, for that a different class must be applied for.

Class 4D- Food and Drink establishment where cooking is allowed

This class includes catering establishments which are able to cook food within the premises.

Category E: Industry

Class 5A- Light Industry

This class includes manufacturing industries related to consumer electronics, clothing, and other light manufacturing processes.

Class 5B- General Industry

This class relates to Industry of a general nature which does not fall under light industry or specialised industry.

Class 5C- Specialised Industry

This is industry related to a specific area and which involved a specialised level of skill and equipment.

 Category F: Storage and Boatyards

Class 6A- Storage and Distribution

This class refers to the storage of boats along with the sale and distribution of boats.

Class 6B-Boatyards

This is in relation to areas of land where boats are stored or built.

Category G: Aquaculture

Class 7- Aquaculture

This is in relation to entities working within the sector related to fish farming and research.

Category H: Agriculture

Class 8- Agriculture

This is in relation to the growth of agricultural produce and rearing of livestock.

MEPA Use classes

While the class uses are fairly straightforward there are some aspects related to the transfer of one use class to another which must be noted.

The general rule is that within the same category changing from one class to another requires a development permit. This means that if you wish to change your school (2C) into a nursing home (2A) you will need to apply for a development permit.

However the following are exceptions to this rule and do not need a development permit, instead a notification and reply mechanism is used.

  • Hotels (3B) to tourism typologies (3A)
  • Retail (4B) to Offices (4A)
  • Food & Drink no cooking (4C) to Offices (4A)
  • Food & Drink no cooking (4C) to Retail (4B)
  • Food & Drink cooking (4D) to Offices (4A)
  • Food & Drink cooking (4D) to Retail (4B)
  • Food & Drink cooking (4D) to Food & Drink no cooking (4C)
  • General Industry (5B) to Light Industry (5A)
  • Specialised Industry (5C) to Light Industry (5A)
  • Specialised Industry (5C) to General Industry (5B)

Moreover, Class 1 has been amended to include lodging of up to 16 people (subject to clearance by the Malta Tourism Authority), and has also been amended to include the approved list of activities which may take place within a dwelling. These are related to offices, beauty and wellness, medical services, education, or any other activity which is compatible with residential use. This is subject to a size limitation and the area being used for such activities must be less than half the total residential area, with a cap at 50sqm.

If you’re still unsure about which use class applies to you or how to go about getting a development permit get in touch with us and we’ll lead you in the right direction!



  1. It’s difficult to locate well-informed individuals on this issue, but
    you sound like you realize what you’re talking about!

  2. Karla Lynn Calleja

    on said  

    Location:No 180, 181, Triq Manwel Dimech San Giljan c/w No. 49, 50, Triq Il-Kullegg l-Antik, Sliema, Malta
    Our Ref:Application Number:PA/07290/1
    Class 4C- Food and Drink establishment where no cooking is allowed
    With reference to Application Number: PA/07290/1 at the above location; if the Class 4C is a food and drink establishment where no cooking is allowed would alchoholic beverages be allowed to be served as this is a residential neighbourhood? Also, could the new drawings with whatever alterations, be sent via email?

    • Hi Karla,
      I just tried to look up the PA number provided at , but it keeps giving me ‘This Application Number does not exist’.
      If an establishment has a class 4 C permit, you should be able to sell bottled alcohol and ready made packed food. Re alcohol, I would verify this in a bit more detail, because some localities such as St Julians have further restrictions depending on the area in question.

    • Dear Angelo,
      A butcher shop would fall under the Class 4B.
      The butcher shall also be specified in the proposal description for the permit, since there might be problems related to smell and vibration, due to any cooler machinery required. An engineers report would required.

    • Hi there,
      It depends if you would like to prepare and cook the food within the same premises or if you simply want to warm the food up.
      For cooking within same premises you require a Category D – Class 4D , while for simply warming up food you require a Category D – Class 4C

  3. Nakarin

    on said  

    Hi Islandproperties Malta

    I’d like to know if I would like to open my restaurant in 4D class. Is it possible to sell as food product in my shop? as I’d like to open in my space 50 percent is restarant and 50 percent of food product (Seasoning,Sauce,Frozen food,Snack,Dry food product,some Veg./fruits and drinks) as everything for cooking at home.



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