The all important contract

In Malta there is no standard contract for renting a property but there are certain pieces of information that it should contain. 

Lets also not forget that there should be an inventory of what the flat contains signed at the same time as the contract. You maybe excited about finding your new home but do not rush this part as you may very well regret it at a later date. Watch out for phrases in it you may not understand (Tale Quale’ – as seen, for example).

“The Maltese government applies a tax of 15% on rental income, that is valid for residential contracts only. The tax, introduced in January 2014, is paid by the lessor.” This means that the landlord pays it and not the tenant so if there is a phrase in the contract stating the tenant is liable then simply do not sign it.

Here is a link to some more useful contract information Contracts in Malta

To be super sure the contract is 100% legal then get it witnessed by a notary once both parties are happy with it.

Lets get to the 5 pieces of information that every contract in Malta should contain;

  1. Property Leased
  2. Agreed use
  3. Duration of lease
  4. Whether lease is extendable
  5. Amount of rent to be paid

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There are other pieces that you may also want to consider having added to the contract for your own protection;

  • Utilities to be paid on residential rate via landlord signing form H
  • Agreed termination notice – 2 months Landlord, 1 month tenant
  • Deposit paid is clearly stated as returnable at end of tenancy with allowance for damage or breakages.

Having this form signed by the landlord will mean that you get the residential rate and save between 43 and 103.4% on your water and electricity.

Print your copy of form H here and get the landlord to sign it at the same time as the contract.

Hard work at the contract stage will save you some potential heart ache when you come to the end of your tenancy.   Feel free to use the contact form below if you need advice.

 

 

Utilities Residential Tariff

So why is form H so important?

Without this form being signed by your landlord and submitted to ARMS tenants have found themselves being charged between 43 and 103.4% more than if they were on the correct tariff. Over the course of a year this can be quite a significant amount and added to rental prices an extra cost that is easily avoided.

It has to be said there has been some lack of knowledge about utilities charging by both the landlords and tenants and the more information you have about tariffs the better for you when it comes to agreeing a contract. It is very important that you get agreement that form H can be submitted Before you sign the contract.

If they refuse to sign form H it is a good indication that they are not reasonable landlords and you would be strongly advised to walk away.

All people living the their primary residence should be paying 0.1047 cents per unit and for a single person residence the eco reduction should be 25%.

If you are currently in the middle of a tenancy agreement and suspect you are not on the right tariff first of all speak to the landlord, ask to see the full invoice and explain you would like to be on the correct rate by submitting form H. Hopefully the landlord will be open to signing the form for you and once this is done you could also consider applying for a refund from ARMS using form H1.

There is an option of changing the account in your name on a temporary basis without the landlords consent but as this is still under consideration I am not proposing to go into details of this at present.

You can download your copy of form H by clicking here

Form H

Good luck with this and hopefully you will still start saving money or be on the correct tariff from the start of your new tenancy.

 

 

 

Deposit and getting it back

A deposit is paid in most countries when renting and in most countries this is refundable at the end of the tenure with no quibbles. Understandably minus reasonable deduction for breakages or non wear and tear damage. Sadly in Malta this is not the case and quite often a deposit is seen as “free” money to the landlord. Read on for suggestions on ensuring you get what is “your” money back.

Hopefully you have a good landlord and you will not need this advice but if you do not then this may well help you.

  • If you have an inventory as should be the case when you signed the contract check that everything is there. If not then expect a deduction for any items or damage.
  • Make a recording of the flat including electronic goods working such as the fridge, TV and washing machine.
  • Make sure the flat is clean as this is an obvious deduction the landlord will try to make.
  • Take the electricity and water readings and work out what is owed using the ARMS online calculator.
  • Go to a solicitor  and get a letter addressed to the landlord demanding the sum owed to you. This will cost you about €25 but will be worth it considering the amount you put down in deposit.
  • Return the keys with the solicitor’s letter in “registered” mail as this is crucial if the deposit is not returned and you need to go to court.

Sound advice is  to leave the flat as you found it and I would strongly recommend that you take photos or make a recording of the next flat you move into so that you have before and after footage.

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I would be interested to hear your stories on getting your deposit back, good and bad, so please feel free to use the contact page below.

 

Rent Subsidy

Like many other countries Malta has rent subsidy available for those households earning less than €23000 PA and having less than €23300 in savings.

Application is fairly straight forward assuming you have a rental contract and have been in the property the previous 12 months. You will need to prove your income in the previous 12 months which can be done by asking your employer or previous employer for an FS3. You will needs rent payment receipts and €10 to hand for the administration fee. The whole process can take about 3 months but payment will be backdated and the remaining fees of about €30 taken from the first payment. Also the form will need to be witnessed by a professional person, such as a Doctor, which should set you back no more than €5 or €10.

The office itself is in Floriana and is only open between 08.30 and 11.30 and not on a Wednesday.

Once you get to the office with all your forms and paperwork you will be assigned a number in the queue and watched over by security. Once into see an advisor you should find them professional, quick and helpful as I did.

You can download the forms in English or Maltese from the following link;

Subsidy Application Forms

Within these forms you will see exactly what you need to take with you such as a copy of the front and back of your ID card. It pays to be well prepared which will save your time when you get there.

I almost forgot, be prepared for the property you rent to be inspected to ensure it is of a habitable standard. This maybe quite short notice so you may have to juggle other commitments and be prepared for the property owner not really liking this part.

The amount you get awarded in subsidy depend on your income and rent paid but should not be less than about €80 per month and no more than about €160.

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Good luck!

 

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