If you’ve fallen in love with this beautiful island, you might be considering to rent property in Malta. But before you do anything, read our best tips for renting a property. Renting in an unfamiliar country always has some challenges, and you’ll want to make sure that your Mediterranean dream doesn’t become a nightmare.

When it comes to agents, be careful! Unfortunately, there are some agents out there looking to take advantage of foreigners. Of course, not all agents are bad, but a few  can really make things difficult for you, with unkept promises and confusion. If you are unhappy with your agent, you might want to consider to get out and start again.

  1. Don’t sign a long-term lease before you get to know the area. See if you can rent the property for a short time first – you don’t want to discover that you’re saddled with problem neighbours after committing to a one-year lease!
  2. Visit the area at different times to get a feel for it. Some parts of Malta might be quiet and relaxing by day, but noisy at night, or vice versa.
  3. Look for information on parking nearby. Is there street parking or a garage? Will you be able to use it?
  4. Check first with your landlord before making any decisions about pets. You don’t want to find out too late that your dog is not welcome! Sometimes a landlord may ask for more money in your deposit if you have a four-legged friend.
  5. Check the direction of the property. A south-facing property will really get a lot more sunlight, which is a godsend in winter, as it will mean lower heating bills.
  6. Be careful with penthouses – they may seem glamorous, but they’re often uncomfortably hot in summer and uncomfortably cold in winter. Look for practicality over attractiveness.
  7. Does the property have a lift? Unless you’re young and fit, don’t rent a flat that’ll involve clambering up several flights of stairs. That’s particularly important if the flat has gas cylinders, as the delivery company will charge a small fee for anyone above the first floor.
  8. Check for practical problems before committing to anything. Look closely at the air vents and windows for signs of humidity, damp or condensation. Check the bedding, too.
  9. In Malta’s hot climate, insects can be a problem. Make sure that the property has insect screens on doors and opening windows.
  10. What about ventilation? Summers can be a nightmare if things get too hot. Check for fans, air con or, if nothing else, fully opening windows.
  11. How comfortable is the furniture? Test the sofas, beds and chairs before signing anything – you want to be able to relax at home!
  12. Take a close look at the appliances and lighting. Are they environmentally friendly and power efficient? You don’t want to spend more than you have to.
  13. Does the water heater have a time-switch? This may seem like a nitpicking detail, but it really is a good idea to fit one.
  14. Think about noise. If you’re on or near the ground floor, things may get loud during the day – particularly if there are children in the area.
  15. Ask the landlord about extra charges. Does the rent include communal costs? Lighting, cleaning, lift maintenance and building maintenance must all be covered, and if the building has pool access, that can cost more, too. Check if these costs are included in the rent or not.
  16. Check the building for lighting. If there’s a power cut, do stairs and communal areas have emergency lighting in place? It’s not the end of the world if they don’t, but you’ll need a torch, just to be on the safe side!
  17. If you’re looking for an unfurnished flat, take measurements and decide if you’ll need a professional furniture lifter, and if you’ll be able to get your precious items of furniture in through the doors and windows. If you do need to hire a furniture lifter, you may need to pay about €5 to €10 for a local council permit.
  18. What outdoor areas – terraces, roofs, pools, etc – does the building have available for your use?
  19. Check for electrical power outlets. Do you have enough, and are they in good positions?
  20. If you’re budget-conscious, then take a look at the kitchen. Electric cooking is a lot more expensive than gas.
  21. Carefully check that all the lighting features work. It’s easier to get everything sorted out before you move in than after.
  22. Make it official: get a proper inventory check, which includes notation of anything missing or anything damaged. Ensure that the landlord signs it before moving forward.
  23. Water pressure in Malta can be a bit hit and miss, so try out the shower before committing. Try the tap water, too. Some people find it disgusting – if you’re one of them, you can buy filtered water in 10L or 20L containers and have it delivered regularly.
  24. Speaking of water, check the water tanks. The lids should be completely secure, as otherwise insect larvae can enter. Make sure that the toilets flush properly, without any plumbing problems.
  25. Check out the connections, for TV, phone and internet. See what’s available for your particular area. If you want satellite TV, make sure that it’s possible.
  26. In the hot Maltese summer, bins can get pretty smelly – so look for all the information about collection days and times.
  27. Confirm with your landlord about bills. How often will the utility bills arrive? How will you organise payment?
  28. Request that your landlord completes ARMS Form H, which is available from www.smartutilities.com.mt This will confirm that you are legally registered as an occupant. Ensure that bills will arrive addressed to you personally, or that you are a registered consumer. This may seem like a bit of a hassle but it could save a lot of money and problems later on down the line.
  29. When you arrive, use the calculation tool at mita.gov.mt to do an energy consumption check over a period of one week.
  30. Make sure that your landlord gives you a copy of the two pages bill from ARMs. He might try to get away with offering you some papers that he’s written himself – don’t accept it.
  31. Get a rent book, or some other record of rent and utility payments. Be aware that many landlords in Malta will ask to be paid in cash, possibly so they can avoid a tax declaration.
  32. Keep copies of everything. If you have a problem one day, then records of payments and copies of bills that you’ve paid can potentially help you a lot.
  33. Check for security in the fittings of the water tanks. If water passes the meter, then it’s your responsibility to pay for the leak. This could cause a huge problem, as the tanks are usually kept on the roof where you won’t see them regularly. This is not the time for “out of sight, out of mind” – set a reminder to check it on a regular basis.
  34. Make sure any bills you pay are official. Landlords may try to get away with offering you an estimated bill, and the estimate is usually far too high. Legally, you are under no obligation to pay an estimated bill. Use your meter to check for readings, and know your rights: if you submit the correct readings within 5 days, the landlord will have to submit a new bill.

Don’t panic! If you pay attention to these tips for renting, you can avoid the worst potential problems. Stay safe, stay smart, and when you rent property in Malta, everything should go smoothly.