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You are not alone in choosing to relocate to Malta as almost half of all foreign born immigrants there are British. The lure for Brits to move to Malta is not hard to see, the country offers a cheap cost of living, glorious weather, historical links to the UK, tax benefits, fresh job opportunities and a small population which is largely English speaking.
Relocating to a foreign country is never going to be plain sailing, but with a little research and a little effort you can make it much easier. This is why renting a property in Malta makes much more sense at first than buying one. Even if you have holidayed in Malta every year for the last 25 years, living in a place gives you the chance to witness the area in all seasons, in all weathers and under all circumstances. So, before you commit to buy, you should consider renting in Malta.
Why Rent in Malta?
Malta is an ideal tourist destination, especially for the Brits. It benefits from all year sunshine and so is particularly popular for winter breaks. It has the UK connections, the majority of locals speak English, it is full of sites of historical interest, it has quiet relaxing beaches as well as a lively, trendy scene which makes Malta perfect for expats of all ages. There is also a thriving iGaming industry, which provides jobs for many expats and locals alike. This includes Unibet, Betsson and Tipico who all have offices on the island and are licenced by Malta's Lotteries and Gambling Authority (LGA).
Add to this the fact that Malta was voted second in the International Living Quality of Life Index 2011 and you have a place that is not only vibrant and full of life and sunshine, but which is also highly rated for the quality of life it offers its citizens.
Where to Rent in Malta?
Before committing to a long let it is always wise to do your research. So, before you sign on the dotted line it might be worth booking a holiday let while you look for the ideal property. Malta may be a tiny island covering just over 122 square miles, making it one of the smallest states in the world, but each area of the island is quite unique and different from the rest.
If you want to experience the best of everything that Malta has to offer, then consider the waterfront areas around Valletta, Sliema and St Julian's which boast some of the most desirable places to live. You are close to all the local amenities such as shops, clubs, restaurants and bars, there is a great view over the waterfront and public transport is good. The only downside is that because they are such popular areas the property and rental prices here can be higher than elsewhere in Malta.
For something a little cheaper, head for Gzira, Msida or perhaps the town of Zabbar where elegant townhouses can cost the same as an apartment in trendy Valletta but offer more space. If you head further out of Valletta then you can still find a bargain in the central north-eastern part of the island with places like Mosta, Naxxar and San Gwann which remain close to the Malta hot-spots.
The north of Malta is much more attractive to tourists and so can get quite hectic in the summertime but then some people love the buzz and excitement that this brings with it. Places such as Bugibba, St Paul's Bay and Qawra are among some of the cheapest areas to rent in Malta, offering a wide choice of modern apartments. However, these areas are quite seasonal so bare that in mind if you are planning on looking for employment.
Further north and you reach the retired expat's favourite of Mellieha with its glorious beaches and quaint Britishness. If you want to get away from the tourist hub of the island then head south where you will discover a plethora of tiny fishing villages and cheap property, just be aware that here the locals are less likely to speak good English. The little seaside town of Marsascala for example, is cheap and offers tranquility set amongst ideal surroundings.
Finding a Property to Rent in Malta
So where to start? Well the most obvious starting point would be local letting agents however, there are one or two differences between letting agents in the UK and those in Malta which we will cover now.
Unlike the UK, a property can be advertised to let with a number of different agencies so it's not unusual to see the same property being listed with almost every agency on the island. This could potentially lead to you being contacted by several agents about the same property.
Once you pick a couple of places to look at then the agent will personally drive you to each one, which is handy if you are not terribly familiar with getting around the island!
When you've chosen your perfect property and handed over the deposit, it's yours. You will also have to pay an agency fee (usually a month's rental) but half of this cost is covered by the landlord which is why most prefer rental contracts of at least a year.
The longer you are planning to rent the more you can negotiate.
What is Included in a Rental?
One important thing to note is that once you have successfully secured a rental in Malta, you no longer deal with the agency but the landlord directly. You are given their numbers to call and you arrange for your payments to go directly to them.
You will possibly need to produce your passport for ID purposes. After that you will need to pay the deposit, which again is about the cost of a month's rental. You also need to pay one month upfront, an agreed sum for bills and half the cost of the estate agent fee.
Most rentals are furnished and you may be given an inventory, if not then ask for one as it's vital that you go through everything with the landlord before you move in to save any issues later on.
Bills as mentioned above will be listed in your contract, so make sure you go over this as the payment will be an addition to your monthly rental and not an inclusion. You will usually pay an agreed monthly amount to cover bills but you may be charged if you go over the agreed rate. As electricity is expensive in Malta it's worth keeping your eye on the meter. It's also important to note that water is also metered in Malta and that there's no mains gas supply, so it is your responsibility to buy refills for your gas cylinder.
Other extras may include cleaning of communal areas and air conditioning.
Final Renting TipsProperties in Malta generally don't have central heating but winters can get cold and damp so it might be worth investing in a couple of gas heaters. Parking can be an issue so check this out with your landlord. Make a note of meter readings both before and after. If the apartment is new, find out if you will be affected by building work. Communication is everything so keep talking to your landlord!