A contract is absolutely key and you’d be bonkers to move in without signing one. Tenants have few rights in Malta, but they have zero rights without a contract. These documents are not set in stone. Read what the landlord/lady gives you very carefully; ask for changes if you want to; ensure you understand every clause; and don’t rely on verbal agreements – everything needs to be in the contract.
What A Lease Should Stipulate
This is what the lease should stipulate:
- The address of the property
- The contact details of the landlord/lady, and their ID card
- The contact details of the tenant and their ID card (or passport details if tenant does not have a local ID card)
- The amount of rent, how and when it should be paid (electronic transfer is by far the easiest option, or cheque. It is best not to agree to pay in cash). Landlords/ladies cannot charge any taxes on top of the rent.
- The agreed use of the property (i.e. residential only).
- The length of lease, start and end date, and possibilities for extension. Most leases last for six months or a year (long lease) and then go onto a rolling month to month (short lease) basis unless both parties decide to sign a long lease again.
- Notice period and termination rules for both parties.
- The amount of security deposit (usually one month’s rent).
- Outline the landlord and tenants responsibility for maintenance, repairs and any other costs (for example, if the washing machine breaks, who should replace it).
- Give the landlord/lady right of access, subject to reasonable notice (of at least 24 hours’ and at a time agreeable to the you, the tenant, except in an emergency).
- Payment of bills (note that the Residential Tariff with full eco reductions should apply on the meter). See here for further details [insert hyperlink to ‘Understanding Utilities’.
- What will happen if the property is put up for sale / sold during the tenancy.
- An inventory with photos and video.
- Meter readings.
Lastly… ensure all pages are initialed by both parties, and get a copy.