Accommodation in Malta
Securing accommodation in Malta is relatively straightforward and expats will likely find good quality housing to suit their lifestyle and budget.
The stability of the real estate sector is based on a number of factors, including local demand, the fact that there is limited space to build property in Malta and a growing expat population. Expat investors capitalise on high-end property for the eventual returns, while pensioners are lured by lower property taxes and young professionals are attracted by reasonably priced accommodation and work prospects.
Property prices in Malta are more affordable than major European capitals, but there are regional variations and restrictions on foreign property ownership, so many expats rent in Malta at first.
Types of accommodation in Malta
There are various kinds of accommodation in Malta, including apartments, farmhouses, villas, townhouses and maisonettes (apartments with their own private entrances).
Maltese townhouses are divided between old and new. Older townhouses usually have several floors, are built from stone and their exteriors have to be preserved by law. Newer townhouses, or terraced housing, are built from bricks and don’t have the same restrictions.
A distinctly Maltese type of housing is the house of character. These typically have thick, unpainted stone walls, a central courtyard and sometimes even a well. Three- and four-bedroom houses are the norm and some houses of character date back to the 17th century. Supply is limited, although there are newer houses that replicate this traditional style with a modern twist.
Finding accommodation in Malta
Real estate agents can be helpful to expats who are unfamiliar with the local market. Aside from taking their clients through the process of renting or buying property, some agents assist with setting up utility accounts such as electricity and internet access.
Online property portals and local newspapers are other popular ways of finding accommodation in Malta, but listings can be outdated and don’t always give an accurate representation.
Renting property in Malta
Even though a lot of rental accommodation is short-term and aimed at tourists, expats will have numerous options when it comes to renting property in Malta.
The areas that are most popular with expats are traditionally Sliema, St Julian’s and Swieqi, which are a short distance outside of Valletta.
Most rental properties are furnished, so expats may have to make special arrangements if they want to bring in their own furniture. Overall, properties are well-equipped, but, especially when it comes to houses of character, their interiors may be somewhat dated.
After finding and securing a property, the tenant and the landlord sign a tenancy agreement. This specifies how bills are to be paid, the duration of the lease and how far in advance notice has to be given before the agreement can be terminated. Utility bills such as electricity and internet are not usually included in long-term rentals, and expats should ensure that anything they want to be fixed is listed in writing before they sign the tenancy agreement.
Real estate agents’ fees usually amount to half a month’s rent, while deposits are equivalent to one month’s rent and are refunded at the end of the lease, with pending bills and damages subtracted.