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Should You Renew Your Lease or Move? Here’s How to Decide


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22-02-2019 - By: Victoria Woods

So, you’re coming up to the end of your lease. Should you stay where you are and renew your lease?  Or should you go and move to a new apartment? The Clash needed some help deciding and, most probably, so do you. It’s quite a big decision and it will take some careful consideration. If you’re struggling to decide, we’ve got your back! We’ve put together a list of questions to ask yourself when you’re nearing the end of your lease. Your answers to these questions will hopefully make things a lot clearer for you.

Do you actually like where you’re living?

How much do you actually like your rental apartment in Malta? If you’re happy where you are, then why move? Moving is a lot of hassle, never mind expensive. You’ll have to go on viewings for a new apartment; pay deposits and fees; pack up all your stuff and cart your belongings from one place to another. What a mission! Do you have enough space where you are? How close is your apartment to your office; is it easy for you to get to and from work? How about your roommates, do you get on with them? Do they do their fair share of housework and keep the common areas clean and tidy? You know what they say, if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Is your current apartment affordable for you?

Most advice you read online will tell you to spend no more than a third of your income on rent. So, do your sums and see what percentage of your salary you’re spending on your rent. Are you breaking the 30% rule? If so, it might be time for you to find somewhere new. If you’re spending over a third of your income on rent but still managing to keep your finances in order, then great! However, it’s always good to save as much as you can, wherever you can. If you find yourself struggling to pay your rent and your bills every month, then you should definitely look for something cheaper. It’s no fun living paycheck to paycheck. If you can’t afford to keep living on your own, you could look for a roommate or find a room in a shared apartment. After all, sharing is caring – and much less expensive!

How is your landlord and are they raising the rent?

What’s your current landlord like? When you rent a flat, it’s your landlord who’s responsible for the vast majority of maintenance and repairs. That’s why it’s important to have a good landlord! When you’re thinking about whether or not to move, consider how responsive your landlord is. Do they answer you quickly when you contact them with an issue? Do they fix things promptly or leave you waiting for days or weeks on end? If you’re happy with your landlord, maybe you should stay. Many landlords are great, but you might not want to risk playing the landlord lottery! Perhaps you have a good landlord but they’re raising the rent for the year ahead. Are they asking for a reasonable amount? These are all things to keep in mind.

What’s the rental market like? Can you afford somewhere better?

If your landlord is raising your rent, are they still asking for a fair price for the apartment? The rental market in Malta is booming and prices have increased a lot recently. Have a look around to see what sort of prices apartments tend to go for. Rent prices will depend on the apartment size and location. Sliema and St. Julian’s are two of the most expensive areas to rent in Malta. Cheaper apartments can be found in places like Birkirkara, Mosta and Naxxar. Compare the price of your flat with others of a similar size in the same area. If the price seems reasonable, and you’re happy where you are, why go through the hassle of moving? On the other hand, should you find a similar place for a cheaper price, moving might be the way to go!

Do you have a new rental place in mind?

Finding an apartment in Malta that’s right for you can take some time. Don’t decide not to renew you lease right before you’re supposed to move out! You could end up with nowhere to live! If you decide to leave your current flat, you’ll need to find a new one. There’s no guarantee that something appropriate will be available at the time you need to move. It’s also pretty unlikely that the first apartment you go to view will be the right one! You will most likely have to view a few places before you find something suitable. Lettings agents can help you with this, and it’s much easier than you having to scroll through Facebook or Malta Park for hours on end. Especially if you’re busy and work full-time. Finding an apartment can be a full-time job in itself. Lettings agents are the go-to guys. They know the rental market like no one else and will be a godsend for any apartment-hunter in Malta.

How much will it cost you to move?

Lastly, consider just how much it’s going to cost you to move to a new house. Moving apartments is not just about finding a nice apartment, packing up your stuff and moving in. There are a lot of costs involved in moving and you should factor this into your decision making process. When you find a new place that you like, you will need to put down a deposit. This is normally equal to a month’s rent. You will get this back at the end of your tenancy, if you don’t do any damage and keep the apartment in the same condition. Also, if you found your apartment through a letting agent, you will need to pay their agency fee. They are the ones who search for the right apartment for you, arrange the viewings and help with the contract. Most lettings agency fees will be 50% of one month’s rent (plus VAT). On top of the deposit and the agency fee, it’s normal for a landlord to ask for the first month’s rent upfront. Then, you’ll usually continue to pay the monthly rent in advance for the duration of your tenancy. This makes the last month quite fun, as you’ll pay no rent at the end but, instead, you’ll (hopefully) get your deposit back. However, the first month? Not so much. To move, it’ll probably cost you 2.5 x the monthly rent of your new apartment (deposit + agency fee + first month’s rent). Not to mention the cost of all the cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape and a moving van!  

Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re ready to move or not. It’s always a big decision so, if you’re still not sure, you could even see if you could renew your lease for just 6 months instead of 12. Some landlords will be fine with this, and then you can revisit the idea of moving in a few months. Perhaps when you’ve saved up some money or have a bit more time on your hands. At QuickLets, we have the largest property database in Malta. Our agents are always one step ahead and they’re the best-equipped at finding you the perfect flat. When you’re ready to move, there’s no one better for the job! It’s easy to get in touch with one of our Lettings Agents, just send them a message on Facebook, drop them an email, a text or give them a call.