Average rental prices vary from village to village. Typically, a modern, one bedroom flat in Sliema and St. Julian's - villages popular among expats and tourists, also the most expensive on the island - costs €500-€1,200+ per month. Parking is typically €50-€100 per month (if not included in your letting agreement, and if available with your rental property). Street parking in Malta is free, but difficult to find in high traffic areas such as Sliema and St. Julian's.
Extra amenities, such as a terrace, pool, penthouse, or seafront view, will typically increase your rental fee by several hundred Euros a month. Townhouses in this area start from €650 per month.
Outside of Sliema and St. Julian's, it is possible to find cheaper flats, as low as €200-€400 per month for a one bedroom.
As is the case in most countries, the larger and more modern the flat the higher the rental fees.
The Maltese real estate market heats up during the summer, and is less competitive during the winter months. You can expect to pay accordingly - rental fees typically rise during high season (April-September) and are lower or negotiable during low season (October-March).
Most expats in Malta rent property with the assistance of a real estate agent. Real estate agents are very familiar with guiding expats through this process. Typically, you should contact a Maltese real estate agency with a list of your requirements (including budget and preferred areas/villages) a month prior to your arrival on the island. You will arrange a time to view properties with him/her upon your arrival on the island. It is uncommon to arrange properties to rent in advance, although this can be done via email and the Internet.
When you arrive in Malta it is typical to stay at a hotel for a few days (up to a week) while you search for a property to let. In most cases, you will find a suitable property within a day or two, and can move in shortly thereafter. Remember that most rental properties in Malta are fully furnished.
Most expats rent property in Malta through a real estate agency. To find properties to let you can visit a local real estate agency's web site. Be aware that these are not updated regularly to reflect property availability - it is easy to waste hours searching through pages of properties only to find that they are all currently occupied!
Alternatively, you can also find property to rent directly through owners. Postings are made in local newspapers and online. Some creative landlords have also taken to publishing rental property ads on Facebook.
A good source of owner-direct rentals are newspaper classifieds, such as the Times of Malta.
You should expect prompt and courteous service from real estate agents in Malta – although it is helpful to remember that Malta is an island, and business here run on 'island time.' It is not uncommon to be fashionably late to appointments (15-20 minutes).
Most real estate agents prefer to liaise with you in person once you arrive on the island, rather than exchange numerous emails or phone calls prior to your arrival. This has both pros and cons for the renter: communication is often more effective in person, but it can be stressful to leave your accommodation arrangements to what seems like the last minute. Remember this is typical in Malta, and the accommodation search process is usually fairly quick.
Remember, the size of an agency does not always translate to better service, although larger agencies do typically have larger rosters of rental properties.
Real estate agents' fees are equivalent to a month's rental fee for the property you select: the tenant pays half, and the landlord pays half. For example, for a flat that costs €1,000 a month, the tenant pays the real estate agent €500, and the landlord pays the agent €500.
Remember that the tenant must also pay the landlord half a month's rent for their damage deposit (in this example, €500) and normally +/- €50 per month for utilities.
In this example, the tenant's up-front costs are €2,050: this includes the real estate agent's fee, the damage deposit, the first month's rent, and the first month's utilities.
Common flaws and things to consider inside Maltese flats:
All rental agreements in Malta should be written. Typically, your real estate agency will provide you with a written letting agreement. You will be asked to sign and initial each page of this agreement - read it carefully before doing so.
Letting agreements in Malta can be short (less than six months) or long (more than six months, typically up to a year). You can sometimes negotiate your rental fee based on the length of your letting agreement (i.e. long lets should be cheaper than short lets). You may also be able to negotiate renewal terms with your landlord, such as a month-to-month lease after the expiry of your current letting agreement.
To terminate your letting agreement, you must find someone to take over your letting agreement.
Unfortunately, there is no official agency or resource for renter's rights in Malta. To a tenant's advantage is the low occupancy rate of rental properties in Malta - typically a landlord is eager to keep a good tenant.
When in doubt, consult a lawyer (this is relatively inexpensive in Malta compared to other countries).