Knowledge is Power: Rental Pitfalls to Avoid

When renting property in Malta and Gozo, there is an array of concerns from the tenants’ part. As discussed in our last couple of blogs, in order for the rental process to be a smooth sailing one, tenants in Malta should follow certain procedures. That being said, however, many residents tend to make certain mistakes. That’s why 77 Great Estates compiled a list of the common pitfalls many tenants tend to be culprit of. By following these guidelines, you’ll hopefully circumvent several rental snares that you may not have known about or been aware of beforehand…

1. When you don’t have a realistic budget

You won’t find rental properties for less than €350 per month, and generally the rental fee excludes utility and wi-fi bills, so be aware of what you’re able to spend. Ideally you should have a budget where you have enough money to play around with for the rest of the month, in order for you to cover utility bills as well as other monthly exigencies.

2. Immediately commiting yourself for the long term 

For your first lease, it’s advisable to sign for only 6 months, until you settle and find your bearings. Your landlord will be happy to extend this if you wish to stay, but at least you’re not tied for 12 months if it turns out to be unsuitable.

3. Forgetting to jot down any agreements

When meeting your potential new landlord, any conditions they mention at the viewing should be jotted down. Likewise, any conditions you may have should be taken note of, and you can eventually agree with the landlord what to officially include in the contract.

4. Failing to safeguard yourself

If you’re signing a lease in the absence of a notary, then take along a friend or family member who’ll sign as a witness, and remember to keep a copy! Additionally, you should ensure that every page of the contract and the inventory isn’t just signed by the owner, but also the witness.  

Apart from taking note of the inventory (as we discussed in our previous post), a mention of the general condition of the building and all its contents should be made. What’s more, water and electricity should be changed into your name, because this ensures that your utility bill won’t be calculated at an inflated rate. If your landlord won’t clarify what Tariff of Electricity you're using, understand that it’s your right to insist on knowing the tariff being used. If he refuses, then perhaps it's best to seek another property where you'll be better able to keep tabs on your utility bill.

5. Misunderstanding the Termination Clause

Remember, if you sign a 12-month contract, you’re automatically committing yourself to paying 12 months of rent, whether you live in the property for 12 months or for 3. This is why it’s important to plan the duration of your lease accordingly. Luckily, you can include a clause (which is often added to contracts), stating that if you have an emergency that requires you to leave Malta you can terminate your contract with a 1-month notice, and only forgo your deposit money. This is, of course, a very useful clause to have, and you should therefore always make sure that it’s in the contract. If it isn’t, insist on adding it in.

Without a doubt becoming a tenant comes with a list of things to do and things to side-step. That’s why it’s of utmost importance to be aware, because this avoids the potential tenant getting trapped into common pitfalls. That’s why we ardently recommend seeking professionals’ advice from our firm, 77 Great Estates.

We hope you’ve found this post beneficial. Should you be interested in renting a property in Malta or Gozo, contact us today. We’ll gladly lend a helping to find you your perfect home!

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