If you’re not ready to take the plunge and buy (and it’s a good idea to test possible locations and get to know the market before you do), renting a property is pretty straight forward in Malta. Rentals are mainly furnished, but you can find unfurnished places too – there are still some bargains to be had if you look hard enough.
You can use an estate agent or contact owners directly. There are some advantages to working with an agent when you first arrive. They will pick you up and drive you around various properties so that you can find something you like, cutting out a lot of the leg work. They can also show you a selection of properties on your first outing, so that you can decide what will suit you (a house of character in a village is very different from a apartment or a townhouse in a busier town).
If you have a clear idea of what you want already, communicate it to the agent and don’t let them stray from the brief or push you over your budget; there are plenty of good agents out there, so if you feel someone is wasting your time, go elsewhere. Agents fees are normally half a month’s rent plus VAT which both you and the landlord/lady will have to pay.
If you’d prefer to save yourself some cash and find a place on your own, that’s also easy. Look out for ‘for rent’ signs on houses or apartments, or check out the classified adverts in the local newspapers. To search online, try Maltapark or Flatscanner (you can turn agents’ ads off on both websites).
Localities to rent
Rents vary from ‘pricey’ in plush complexes like Portomaso or Madliena Village to ‘very cheap’ for older, smaller apartments, especially in the North and South of the country or in Gozo. Read more on the different areas around Malta.
Mostly, you will be responsible for utilities, internet and TV yourself, unless otherwise agreed. With regards to electricity, you must insist that this is on the lowest ‘residential’ tariff (provided you are or will be a resident), or you will end up paying up to double. You should also consider whether a property has working air-conditioning - it gets very hot in summer and surprisingly cold from December to February.
Start off with...
To begin renting, you should make sure that you’ve signed a tenancy agreement (six months is the norm) and you’ll also need to pay the first month’s rent, plus a deposit (usually one month’s rent) to the landlord or landlady. If you want a decent chance of getting your deposit back, take photographs of the place when you move in and make sure you get a signed inventory of the contents and the condition of the rental property.
If you're ready to take the plunge and purchase your first property in Malta, read more about what you need to know before buying a house in Malta.
The Maltese tend to own their homes and mortgages are generally cheaper than renting in the long term. Don’t rush into buying until you understand the market though – renting when you first arrive will also help you to figure out the best place to live. Here's what you need to know about buying property in Malta.Can I bargain on the price?
If you’re taking the apartment for a year, landlords might reduce the rent. It’s always worth asking.Can I break the contract if I need to leave early?
If you think that this might happen, negotiate a break clause in the contract. That might come at a price.What bills will I need to pay?
Bills include gas (in the form of propane cylinders), electricity and water. This will set you back approximately €68 a month. You can also get cable or satellite TV and a landline if you want to, as well as WiFi internet. There is no equivalent of a ‘Council Tax’ or waste collection tax in Malta. Here is a list of prices of Utilities.