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Understanding Maltese housing contracts: common terms and clauses

Malta is an emerging destination for international students seeking higher education. The country offers a unique mix of academic excellence, cultural diversity and a thriving economy. With the number of international students increasing in Malta, it is important to understand the complexities of Maltese housing contracts. 

This blog breaks down the common terms and clauses in a Maltese housing contract and tells you everything you need to know!

Malta is a growing economy that takes pride in providing great educational and employment opportunities for students. According to Malta’s national statistics office, international students accounted for 20.5% of all those enrolled in tertiary education. If you are someone heading to study in Malta to enhance your academic experience, keep reading to understand the contractual requirements for renting accommodation in the country.

Explaining a Maltese housing contract

A Maltese housing contract is a legally binding agreement outlining the terms and conditions for renting accommodation. To be eligible to rent an apartment in Malta, you need, first and foremost, proof of enrolment in an educational institution and, sometimes, also a guarantor. Good accommodation provides a stable base for your academic life, essential for your well-being and maintaining academic focus.

Knowing the terrain before signing a Maltese housing contract

Before you start on the journey to find suitable accommodation in Malta, you need to understand the local housing landscape. Here are some factors to consider when searching for rental accommodation.

  • Research and location considerations
    Begin by researching neighbourhoods and considering transportation, amenities and the area's vibe.

  • Budgeting wisely
    Malta's cost of living can vary across regions, so do your research and set a realistic budget for accommodation.

  • Legalities and documentation
    Before signing a Maltese housing contract, prepare to deal with lots of paperwork. Keep all the required documents handy.

  • Inspecting the property
    Once you've shortlisted properties, schedule your viewings. Pay attention to the condition of the accommodation, any maintenance issues or necessary repairs.

Navigate the terrain carefully before signing; a Maltese housing contract involves crucial planning and a thorough understanding of the local housing laws.

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Types of Maltese housing contracts

There are a variety of Maltese housing contracts but all of them are suitable for the different needs of international students. Let's explore the three primary categories:

  1. Long let
    This type of Maltese housing contract lasts from six months to a year. If you are pursuing a lengthy academic course, this contract would suit you. You’ll have a sense of security and consistency and will be able to relax and focus on your studies. Renewal options are generally open in long-let contracts for an extended stay.

  2. Short let
    A short let is the best contract for you if you are a student with shorter academic commitments. The contract lasts for less than six months with flexibility built in. If you seek temporary accommodation without a longer-term commitment, this is ideal for you!

  3. Shared housing
    Shared housing is the most popular type of living arrangement among students as you can split the rental costs with others. With a ready-made community, you can also enjoy a social living experience. Under a shared tenancy, it’s important that each tenant's responsibilities are clearly outlined and common guidelines set down for a peaceful life.

Whichever Maltese housing contract you opt for, being aware of the complexity of the housing market makes you vigilant, focused and productive while you are preparing to explore the beauty of this Mediterranean country.

Basic terms and clauses in Malta, explained

By now, you are aware of the factors to consider and the types of Maltese housing contracts available for students in Malta. You are now well equipped to learn more about the basic terms and clauses of a typical Maltese housing contract.

Maltese housing contracts invariably include some standard clauses. Each plays an important role in defining the rights and obligations of the parties involved. Let’s explore further:

  1. Lease duration and renewal terms
    One of the primary aspects to consider is the duration of the lease. Maltese housing contracts always define the period of occupancy (known as the ‘term’). Once you’ve decided on the right term for you, it’s important to understand the conditions for renewal so you can extend your stay if you want to.

  2. Rent payment structure
    The rent payment structure is clearly outlined in a Maltese housing contract. This must include the agreed rent amount, the due date, any late payment penalties and the acceptable modes of payment. Avoiding being late with the rent or getting into arrears is crucial for maintaining a stable place to live.

  3. Security deposit
    Most Maltese housing contracts require a security deposit. This clause defines the amount of deposit, the refund policies and the circumstances which might lead to deductions being made. You must read the contract carefully and be well informed of your rights as regards the governing terms.

  4. Maintenance responsibilities
    This clause defines the responsibilities related to maintenance and repairs. You must understand your liability, as a tenant, for such specifics as minor repairs or major maintenance. This is a good tip for a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship!

  5. Termination and notice period
    The contract must set out the conditions under which either party can terminate the tenancy. This includes establishing a notice period for both parties for a smooth transition in case of any unforeseen problem. It’s important to also learn the conditions under which the Maltese housing contract becomes void.

  6. Utilities and additional charges
    A Maltese housing contract must state which utilities are to be included in the rent and which are the tenant's responsibility. Make sure you know the details of any additional charges or fees to avoid a surprise down the road.

  7. House rules and regulations
    To maintain a peaceful living environment, your Maltese housing contracts will also include house rules and regulations. You should familiarise yourself with these guidelines so you don’t fall out with fellow residents.

  8. Inventory and condition report
    Often, Maltese housing contracts will include an inventory and condition report. This details the state of the property at the date the tenant moves in. Carefully review and verify this document to avoid disputes during/after the lease period.

  9. Subletting and guest policies
    Your Maltese housing contract will certainly contain a clause related to subletting and guest policies within the property. You must understand these thoroughly to maintain the integrity of the rental agreement.

  10. Legal consequences
    Lastly, Maltese housing contracts will outline the legal consequences of breaching the terms. You should be aware of the potential results of breaking the rules.

With a thorough understanding of these standard clauses, you can confidently approach the Maltese housing market. Just make sure you remain transparent about your living arrangements throughout your academic journey in Malta.

Red flags to avoid

Students must be vigilant when entering into a housing contract in Malta and recognise potential red flags. Here's a table highlighting red flags and green flags for students entering into Maltese housing contracts.

By being aware of these red flags, students can make informed decisions and ensure a secure and satisfactory Maltese housing contract.

Transform your academic life with GBS Malta

GBS Malta is an education provider in St Julians, Malta, offering everything you need. Our classrooms have the latest technology and dedicated spaces for studying, hanging out and doing research. You can enjoy a great student life at our Malta campus, with students from all over the world. Our Malta campus boasts coffee shops, cafes and local stores. It is centrally located for all that Malta has to offer – just 10 minutes from Sliema, 30 minutes from Valletta and a five-minute stroll from a small sandy beach. Here is how we stand out in our offering:

Whether you opt for on-campus or off-campus accommodation, understanding Maltese housing contracts makes you confident as an international student in Malta. With prior knowledge about eligibility, obligations, types of contracts and common terms, students can confidently navigate the rental landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions about Maltese housing contracts

You typically need proof of enrolment in an educational institution and a passport, in some cases, a guarantor. Landlords may request additional identification documents.

Students can choose from various contracts, including long let, short let and shared residential spaces, each with different terms.

Yes, most contracts in Malta allow for renewal, providing continuity for students during their academic tenure.

Yes, shared housing lets are prevalent among students, offering a cost-effective and friendly housing option.

Watch out for unclear terms, unrealistic deposits, hidden fees and unresponsive landlords. Insist on a comprehensive written contract to avoid running into potential difficulties.

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