5 Important Questions Every Tenant Should Ask

In our previous post we gave you a rough guide on crucial aspects that should be kept in mind by all tenants in Malta. The following post is an extension of our previous discussion, regarding typical questions many tenants tend to ask but don’t have an answer for, or worse off, might not have thought of in the first place.

Should I have a notary check the leasing contract?

Once both you and your landlord have agreed the terms and conditions of the lease, you should sign every page, with a witness also signing. That said, it’s also good to have a notary or other legal body to peruse through the lease if possible. Every point that was discussed and agreed at the viewing phase must be put in writing. Remember, a verbal contract isn’t binding, and in the crux of it all, what matters the most is the written and signed word. If your potential new landlord is prepared to let you move in without any lease, we advise you to refuse, because you have absolutely no rights at this point, no matter how ‘nice’ they appear.

What and how do I pay?

When signing the lease contract, it’s important to have your deposit and rent in order. Confirm beforehand with the landlord how they wish to be paid. In Malta most landlords want to be paid in cash. In most instances you will be expected to pay 1 month as a deposit plus 1 month rent in advance. If you’ve found your property through the services of an estate agent, he or she is also entitled to a month’s rent. This fee is split between you and your landlord. You may also need to pay an advance on the utility bills. Again, this should be agreed prior to signing and should be listed in the lease document.

Do not under any circumstances pay the full rent and deposit until you have signed and agreed the lease in the property and receive the keys. Apart from confirming that your deposit will be returned at the end of the lease, that all reference to utility supply and tariff is put in writing. Do not sign the lease until you have read, understood and agreed with every word.

What should be in the Lease?

The Lease document itself can contain any conditions that both parties agree to, however the essentials include:

  • The rental amount
  • The payment day and method
  • The lease start and end dates
  • The address of the leased property
  • All contact details of landlord – or agent
  • An inventory
  • Meter readings on the day of moving in
  • All references to utility tariffs

Why should I have an inventory?

Nearly every property that’s available to rent in Malta will be furnished. It’s less common although not impossible, to find an unfurnished property. If you do need an unfurnished property, some landlords may agree to empty their property for you. Nevertheless, this would only happen if a long lease were being signed.

Your new landlord should supply you with an inventory, however, here in Malta this is not necessarily the case. It’s then advised that if your landlord is not presenting an inventory for you at the start of your lease – you take matters into your own hands.

You and your landlord should have a walk through the property and agree what is to be listed. Take your camera or smartphone and photograph everything! For instance, if on move in day, you see a cracked floor tile, snap it for your records. These can all be sent to your landlord by mobile phone and hence backed up with the written list, an accurate record is then kept. By having an inventory both parties then are protected in the event of a dispute. All details must reflect the content and also the condition of items.

What’s the procedure for getting my deposit back?

Here are some tips to ensure your deposit will be returned, upon your vacating the property:

• Have a lease signed and witnessed, clearly stating the method of deposit return
• Have an inventory from when you moved in
• Keep the property clean and in a good state of repair.
• If you’ve damaged anything then repair/replace to good order and standard.
• If you’ve decided to give your notice to your landlord do this before the actual contractual timeframe. Invite your landlord to inspect the property at least 4 weeks before you plan to vacate. Have your original inventory and photographs ready. You can also offer the deposit being held as the last month payment. That said, your landlord doesn’t have to agree with this, so it’s entirely his prerogative.

Indubitably, finding a rental property in Malta can be a time consuming and stressful feat. What’s more, it’s imperative to know what you should and shouldn’t do as a potential tenant. That’s why we emphatically recommend for you to seek professionals’ advice from 77 Great Estates. We hope you’ve found this post useful. If you’re interested in renting a property in Malta or Gozo, contact us today. We’ll gladly ease the stress and help you find your ideal home!

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