Nowadays renting property in Malta is increasingly becoming an option for those seeking a temporary solution or those who simply don’t yet have the resources to put a substantial deposit on a home loan. That’s why renting is usually a more viable option for such individuals, as it provides better financial management, sans the unnecessary aggravations of notary and architect fees, promise-of-sale contracts, permits and running after workmen or maintenance.
There are many factors that should be kept in mind before embarking on renting a place. 77 Great Estates thought it best to share with you some pearls of wisdom so as to avoid any potential pitfalls in the long run:
Remember your budget
Generally, a place is leased for a minimum of six months, with the possibility to extend for another six. Aside from having to immediately settle the first month’s rent, you’ll be expected to give the landlord a deposit to cover damages or breach of contract. This usually amounts to one-month’s rent, and is refundable at the end of the lease. Typically, you will also need to pay an agent fee of half a months rent + VAT. There is the option in Malta of a long let from owner, but then you lose the choice of propertry, reassurance and convenience of using an agent. Don’t forget that you'll also need to allocate additional costs for utility bills unless the contract stipulates otherwise. Another important question to ask is whether there are extra charges for the cleaning of communal areas as well as lift maintenance, to avoid any unpleasant surprises later.
Location Location Location!
Which location best suits your lifestyle? Is it an easily accessible commute? For instance, if you find driving fairly long distances a daily nuisance, find a place that isn’t far from your workplace to condense the commute. Perhaps, if you’re lucky enough to find a place that’s close enough, you could even walk or cycle to work! Remember however, the location of a place also determines the rental prices. A one to two- bedroom apartment in Birkirkara will be far cheaper than one in the St. Julian’s/Sliema area. So keep in mind that budget you’ve allocated to fork out on a monthly basis predetermines the location.
Discuss pets early
Bring up pets early in negotiations with your prospective landlord, because if your future landlord doesn’t want pets at the address, then you’d best be looking elsewhere. Having a pet in breach of a tenancy agreement that prohibits pets will generally lead to an eviction further down the line.
Check out the white goods
Examine the white goods and report any faults as soon as you move in. If white goods should be included in the inventory on the agreement. It’s your responsibility to visually inspect them and ask the landlord to confirm in writing that they all work well. You should seek explanation in writing as to whether the landlord agrees to fix or change said items if they break down. Remember that responsibility will be determined only by evidence of what has been agreed between both parties so it’s essential to have said agreements in writing. On a similar note, discuss whether said goods are still under guarantee and if your landlord will take care of any future glitches, should they arise.
Remember to check the water pressure too
When you first check a property, run the taps and shower. If there’s a problem with the pressure, you can negotiate with the landlord before signing the agreement. If you don’t expansively examine the property before entering into the agreement, you may not be able to resolve potential future problems. Although in certain cases, inadequate water pressure may fall within the landlord’s legal obligations.
Conduct a thorough inventory
When going through the property’s inventory, be sure you point out any shortcomings and take a note of the condition of the items. Perhaps taking photos of said items would be wise. Give a copy of the amended inventory to the landlord, keeping a copy for yourself. If your landlord hasn’t prepared an inventory, prepare your own, and ask your landlord to sign it.
Understand how rent increases work
Normally, in Malta, it's 10% every 3 years, so it’s approximately a 3.33% increase per year. However, with the boom in market over the past 2 years, many places have gone up by 50%. What’s more, if the contract is over, the landlord can ask for anything, and it’s your prerogative to negotiate.
Read the contract thoroughly
Prior to renting a property in Malta make sure you take note of the following:
- The date the tenancy begins
- Details of whether other people are allowed the use of all or part of the property, and, if so, which parts
- The duration of the tenancy: whether it expires on a certain date (in which case it is a fixed term tenancy), or whether it has no fixed term (in which case it is a periodic tenancy)
- The agreement may also state what the payment includes (eg. utility bills)
- The amount of rent payable, how often and when it should be paid, and when it can be increased
- The length of notice the landlord and the tenant need to give if the tenancy is to be ended within the fixed term
Make sure you have a reliable Estate Agent
Thankfully, the industry, already follows a code of practice, and is also in the process of being regulated on account of a new White Paper. Granted that renting privately can have its perks, however you need to remember that landlords are not regulated. So seeking a reputable estate agent, goes a long way. Here at 77 Great Estates, our estate agents provide peace of mind and safety, while also cutting through the hassle of going through long listings by offering you a more narrowed down selection.
Undoubtedly, real estate in Malta and Gozo is a competitive industry and many firms have a wide selection of properties. However, what sets us apart from other estate agencies is, we don’t look at our client as just another cipher. We treat each individual with their budget and tastes in mind. So next time you’re looking for a place to rent, look no further and choose 77 Great Estates.
Click here for more information, or to view our property listings that are up for rent.
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