What to look out for before renting a property! Some more tips on Renting property in Malta!
Home ownership has always been the centrepiece of the Maltese dream but with prices shooting up and incomes not always keeping up, getting a foot in the rung of the property market can be a deterring option.
While many still view renting as throwing money to the wind, it is increasingly becoming an option for those seeking a temporary solution or those who simply do not yet have the resources to put a hefty downpayment on a home loan.
Renting also provides better financial management that will allow you to get on with your life projects without the unnecessary hassles of promise-of-sale contracts, chasing workmen or maintenance.
But, it is important to analyse the market closely to secure a good deal in the light of recent market movements. Figures just released by the National Statistics Office show that rents have risen dramatically as a consequence of the foreign demand.
These days, renting out a one-bedroom flat costs an average of €605 per month, an increase of €168 on 2012 and a figure that is 38 per cent higher than four years ago.
So, before embarking on renting a place here are some tips to help you make the right choices and guide you in avoiding the pitfalls:
Secure an up to date letting specialist
While renting privately can have its advantages it also means having to meet a total stranger - landlords are not regulated. Seek a credible estate agent, who will provide peace of mind and security, while also cutting through the hassle of going through long listings by offering you a more tailor-made choice. The industry, which already follows a code of practice, is also in the process of being regulated thanks to a new White Paper.
Having said this, a good rapport with your landlord is crucial and it is important to have a meeting with all the parties concerned before you move in.
Choose the right location
Think about a location that best suits your lifestyle and keep the commute in mind. For example, if you find driving a daily aggravation try to find a place that is not far from your place of work to shorten the commute. This may also give you the option of cycling to your destination, further cutting costs.
Also, keep in mind that locations, such as Gzira, that may have been affordable and not as popular in the past, are now being snatched up by foreigners in the iGaming industry, among others. Rental prices for this town have become nearly as expensive as Sliema.
Keep the budget in mind
Normally, a property is leased for at least six months, extendable for another six. Apart from the fact that you will immediately have to settle the first month’s rent, you will also have 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.
Depending on what you’re after, a budget of €600 can get you a one-bedroom flat in Gzira - and Sliema if you’re lucky - or an older two-bedroom apartment in San Gwann or further from of the eastern coast.
Apart from the budget you have to allocate for rent, keep in mind that you will have to pay the water and electricity bills. Also ask if there are charges for the cleaning of communal areas to avoid any surprises later.
What to look for when viewing
Ideally, if you have the time and it’s possible, try to view the place you like during different times of the day to see how safe or quiet it is, and to get an idea of the neighbours. Establish how the property is maintained: look at the windows; run the taps, shower and flush the toilet; check the locks for safety; look out for ease of parking and how close the public transport links are; ensure all the furnishings will remain in place; and establish whether anything requires fixing.
If you fall in love with the place and decide the property can be your temporary home don’t leave it too late to decide as most places are going quicker than hotcakes and the chances of you losing it are high.
Other things to consider
- When going to a viewing take the deposit with you, if you like it try sign the contact asap
- How long is the place available for? And is the tenancy extendable?
- Is the place fully furnished with all the amenities, such as air conditioners?
- Does the landlord allow pets? Normally, the deposit is higher when pets are involved.
- Is smoking permitted?
- Ensure there is an inventory listing everything on the property. And take photos of any damage and scratches before you move in.