Renting real estate has become very popular. With the Economy growing year on year and Industries flocking to Malta, the island now is experiencing a booming rental market. Properties to rent in Malta come in all different sizes and finishes whilst you have an option to rent property in Malta as an unfurnished or furnished home, the latter being accounting for about 95% of the market.
As the market is so ripe and availability hitting lows during certain periods of the year, especially during the summer, there are many factors to keep in mind before choosing a Malta property.
Here are eight of the most important notes should consider before you sign on the dotted line of a rental contract, as recommended by the experts at Jk Properties.
1. Check that the property is fully approved by the relevant authorities
If you are interested in renting a residential property in Malta such as an apartment or house, it’s worth double-checking that it abides by all the relevant laws and regulations. The rental property needs also to be licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority, and has a rent that has been VAT registered.
Since different types of properties, such as residential, office buildings or shops, are all classified differently with the authorities from a legal standpoint, this will affect your rights as a tenant if incorrect.
2. Know your budget
Your total budget will determine everything about your rental property, right down to its size, amenities, and lease period.
On a property with an average lease of six months, which generally has the possibility to extend for a further six, you will be expected to immediately settle the first month of rent before moving in.
In addition, you will need to settle any estate agent’s fees, and provide the landlord with a deposit. Usually amounting to one month’s rent, that will cover any damage you cause during your tenancy or breaches of contract, and is refundable at the end of the lease.
The landlord at times may request three months or can prefer to choose to ask for three months of rent in advance
3. Discuss the Small Print Early
If you negotiate the key parts of the contract with your landlord early on, it is likely to prevent many difficulties for you both later.
Although you may not have yet moved into the property, it’s vital that you have agreed a notice period with the landlord, for example, and that you have both noted your right to remain in the property until this date.
It is also worth clarifying the rate at which the rent is expected to rise during your tenancy. Rent figures should reflect inflation, with rent increasing, on average, 10% every three years in Malta. The terms of any rent increases should be fully detailed in your contract, so the time to negotiate this is before the contract expires, or, better yet, before you have signed it in the first place.
4. Choose Your Location
Even though you’re not buying, the location of your new property to rent is still important.
Finding a place that suits your budget and has suitable facilities is one half of the equation. However, you should also consider whether the location suits your personal circumstances, such as the facilities for children or animals, or your commute to work.
Also remember that some parts of Malta are in higher demand and more expensive to reside in than others, so your budget may mean you’re limited to certain spots – or that the whole island is your oyster!
You must also consider the extra expenses that may go along with living away from the office or on outskirts of the main towns.
For instance, renting a property in St. Julian’s and Sliema are the most popular searches and there is a main obvious reason. Sliema and St. Julian’s and their surroundings are where the main business centres in Malta exist. Most likely if you will be working in Malta you will be based in an office block which is located in one of these towns.
Another reason is the proximity of everything such as the entertainment areas, restaurants, shopping, cafe culture and so on. Of course, you pay a premium but you must also weigh up the costs of renting a car or utilising other transport for commuting to work.
Also, if you move to Malta with your family, your spouse and children will need to have a way to travel from one place to another.
You may want to discuss this with your employer or HR manager before you move to Malta as many companies take this into consideration.
5. Triple-Check Your Contract
A vital aspect of a trouble-free property lease is a watertight contract that details all aspects of your tenancy and has been signed by both you and your landlord.
It should include the date the tenancy begins, the details of all the people who are allowed to use the property, whether pets are permitted, the duration and relevant expiry date of the tenancy.
It should also include, the amount of rent that is payable and when it should be paid, what the rent payment includes and who will cover any additional costs, and the notice period required by you as tenant or the landlord if the tenancy is to finish early.
We recommend asking as many questions as possible upfront.
6. Discuss Utility Bills
Agree upfront with your landlord about how and when utility bills relevant to the rental property may be paid.
Check that you are registered on the bill from Malta’s service provider ARMS, and that you will receive a copy of the bill as and when it is issued.
You may also wish to check your own meter readings on the property and enter this information and the number of residents into the online ARMS calculator to verify your usage and the bill amount.
It is also important that you are on the right tariff and that all family members are listed on your bill so you may benefit from the relative discounts that come with having more people in the rental property and utilising the utilities.
7. Insist Upon an Inventory
It is in the best interests of both you as prospective tenant and the landlord to conduct a thorough tour of the property for rent when you first enter it.
It is important to take a detailed inventory of its contents and general state, with accompanying photographs if possible.
It’s worth the time to make note on the inventory of the serial number and any guarantees in place for all appliances. It should also include all kitchenware provided, the state of any rugs or draperies, a check of both sides of the mattresses, bed bases and of the plumbing including all running water, any electrical cables affecting the property, and of any leaks or damage already present.
Remember to also ensure the completed inventory is initialled and signed by you and the landlord, and kept safe ready to check at the end of the lease.
It may also be recommended that you invest in some contents insurance or you request your landlord to add contents to the home insurance this way you can cover any belongings, including jewellery and devices such as TV’s, computers and mobile phones.
8. Select the Right Lettings Agent
The right lettings agent may make all the difference to the ease of your property lease.
Your lettings agent should be experienced, well-connected, and have a range of properties to offer you that will potentially suit your budget, location and preferred property size.
They will also be the first point of contact between yourself and your landlord, and will oversee all paperwork pertaining to the property, such as the inventory and the contract or lettings agreement.
In a nutshell – the right agent means you will get things right when it comes to moving into the rental property of your dreams in Malta!
Look for reputable agents that have been in the business for a number of years and ask the manager of the letting agent to provide a suitable agent for your request.
It is also really important that you are transparent with the agent so you do not send him/her on a wild goose chase to only find out that you cannot afford something or you can afford a better property and would have wasted time and possibly lose a property that might be on the market that is perfect for you.
In conclusion, approach the process with caution, find the right agent for your needs, select the right budget and once you find the property be inquisitive with the landlord and make sure there are no hidden costs and that the owner is being fair and reasonable.
If you see that the landlord is already from the start being cheeky or pulling to one side you may want to reconsider.
Remember you are making a commitment for six months or more and the last thing you need is to be living in a nightmare whilst you are supposed to be working in a new job and impressing your boss.
For a wide range of residential properties to rent in Malta that are currently available on the property market, get in touch with the Lettings Team at JK Properties today!
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