Renting a Flat for the First Time? Here are some FAQs
As a first-time renter, the whole process of finding and renting out an apartment can be a little unnerving. If you’re looking for an apartment to rent in Malta, you probably have lots of questions. We’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions that first-time renters have. Take a look and hopefully these simple answers will steady your nerves!
How much does it cost to move?
This very much depends on the apartment that you rent. Normally, when you move into a new apartment in Malta, you will need to pay the first month’s rent upfront, along with a deposit and an agency fee, if you rent through an agency. Renting through an agency is the least hassle for you but don’t forget that the agents don’t work for free! Depending on the size of the apartment and where abouts in Malta you want to rent, your new apartment could cost you anywhere between a few hundred euros to over a thousand euros per month. Apartments in Sliema, St. Julian’s and nearby areas tend to be the most expensive. A rental deposit is ordinarily equal to a month’s rent. The agency fee is usually around 50% of the month’s rent. Therefore, you’ll be looking to pay 2.5x the monthly rent up front.
What paperwork do you need?
The rental process isn’t as rigid in Malta as it is in other countries. You won’t have to give over your mother’s maiden name and your blood type. Normally, the agent will ask you where you are from and what you do for a living. When you sign the lease, you’ll just need to provide some form of ID (your passport, I.D. card, driving licence, etc.).
How do you find an apartment?
Finding the right apartment to rent in Malta can be quite tricky. Rental properties are advertised on Facebook groups, sites like MaltaPark and agency websites. Sometimes, properties are rented out just by word of mouth. That’s a lot of different places to keep track of! The rental market is booming here, and apartments don’t tend to stay available for very long. More often than not, you’ll probably find yourself calling about apartments that have already been rented. The advantage of renting through an agent is that they do all the hard work for you. They find the properties, contact the landlords and arrange the viewings.
How do you contact an agent?
Most agents are contactable through a variety of different means. On the QuickLets website, you can fill in the contact form and request a call back about a specific property. Not many people tend to use e-mail in Malta. Instead, a lot of business is conducted over Facebook. The large majority of lettings agents will be easy to get in touch with over Facebook and over the phone.
What do you do if you find an apartment you like?
If you find an apartment in Malta that you’d like to rent, contact the lettings agent. If it’s available, then the agent will be able to arrange a viewing for you. If it’s not available, or you haven’t found something that’s taken your fancy, you can simply let the agent know what you’re looking for. Tell the agent how many bedrooms you need, your budget, which area(s) you’d like to live in, and any other requirements you have of the property. When the agent finds something suitable, he or she will arrange a viewing for you. You might go on a couple of viewings before you find an apartment that you like. When you do, you will need to pay the deposit to ‘reserve’ it.
Do you have to sign a contract?
Yes. Whether you rent through an agency or directly from the landlord, you will in all likelihood sign a rental contract. Make sure you read and understand the contract before you sign. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the landlord and/or the agent. The rental contract will stipulate the landlord’s responsibilities. It will also state your responsibilities as the tenant, such as the rent amount and when it’s due, and keeping the property in a good condition. It will also confirm things like whether or not you’re allowed pets. Most long-let contracts are for a 6-month lease or a 12-month lease.
How do you pay rent and/or bills?
This is something you can agree with your landlord. The easiest way to pay the rent is via Bank Transfer. You can set up a standing order so that the money comes out of your account on the same day every month. Otherwise, you might agree with your landlord to pay by cash or cheque.
What do you do if there’s a problem with the flat?
You’ll probably discuss this when you sign the contract, or at least your contract will outline what needs to happen. If you break something like a bowl or a glass, most probably, you can just replace these yourself. If, however, the issue is something a bit more serious, like the washing machine is broken or there’s a leak, you will have to contact the landlord. It’s better to report such issues as soon as possible, so they can be fixed right away and prevent further damage to the property.
What happens at the end of the lease?
At the end of the lease, you will need to decide whether you would like to renew your contract or find a new apartment. If you choose to stay on, and your landlord is happy, you will simply renew the lease for another 6 or 12 months. If you choose to leave, you will need to deep clean the apartment. Hopefully, you will have looked after the apartment very well. However, you may need to make some minor repairs before you move out. If there are any outstanding costs (for repairs or unpaid rent, for example), these will be taken out of your deposit before it’s returned to you. If all is well and you’ve kept the property in good condition, you will receive your whole deposit back. This, you can then use to put down on your next rental.