Eight Questions to Ask When Viewing an Apartment
How much are the bills and when do I need to pay them?
So the rent is €600 per month, great it's within your budget of €650. What about bills? Does the landlord intend to include bills in your monthly rental payment?
When you rent an apartment in Malta the landlord normally does not include bills in your monthly rent. You should still ask them about this, it could have significant effect on your monthly spending:
It is also worth asking for a reference re consumption so you get an idea of how much you might spend each month and how it fits into your budget. How much you pay is obviously subject to, for example, how much water you waste or how you use the ACs. Still, ask the landlord for a ballpark number so you have an idea.
If you are going to share a flat in Malta with other tenants, you should think about who pays the bills and how you split the payment between tenants. Document and organize it so the process is carried out smoothly every month.
What amenities are nearby?
So you found the perfect property to rent but it's located in the outskirts of Dingli and you don't even have a car. Ask the person who is showing you around about the local area and what you can expect in terms of shopping, fitness and entertainment. If you rely on public transport make sure to ask about transport options.
If the location and its amenities doesn't suit your needs then you should pass on that 'perfect property'.
What is the neighbourhood like?
Everybody wants good neighbours and live in a safe and quiet neighbourhood. You wont really know until you actually have lived in the area or gotten to know your neighbours. The person who is showing you around should have a good idea about immediate neighbours and over status of the area.
It's beneficial to be considerate as well, if you know that you will be getting home drunk from Paceville at 5AM every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday then you shouldn't rent a room or apartment in a building where a lot of families are living.
What is the duration of the rental contract?
In Malta most tenancies have 6 or 12-month lease agreements. You should still ask about this, what is the duration of your stay and is it possible to extend after lease period? Maybe the landlord had in mind to only rent 6-months and you could get a lower rent if you take the apartment for a 12-month lease!
Ask about availability and move-in date so you can start planning your move accordingly.
When is the rent due and how should it be paid?
Normally when renting a room or apartment in Malta the rent is due at the day of when you are moving in. This is not optimal in all cases, if possible you should ask to have the rent due after your salary arrives or at the very start or end of a month. If it is not possible for the landlord to be flexible with the date then you need to plan your finances around the date stipulated in your rental agreement.
Check how the landlord wants to get paid and if you are sharing the apartment with other tenants, document and organize it so the process is carried out smoothly every month.
How much is the deposit?
A deposit is paid to cover damages and other incidents or if you break the contract in a bad manner. It is a protection against financial loss for the landlord.
Normally in Malta the deposit is one month rent and is usually required to be paid up-front upon signing the letting contract.
What are the conditions for pets and redecoration?
All contracts contain different policies and clauses in regards to pets, decoration or refurbishment. Depending on your intentions some landlords are better and some are worse. If you plan to keep a pet then you should be straightforward about this from the moment you meet. Avoid getting into a dispute later on.
Landlords have all the rights say no to any of your requests, even if you want a golden retriever or a sugar glider, no pets means no pets.
Is there anything else I need to know?
This list of questions to ask when viewing an apartment is not exhaustive. If you are uncertain about anything, just ask! There may be other answers you want; Who is managing the property? If there is a leak who should I contact?
Remember you will be living for months in this apartment, don't leave out anything just because you think it seems irrelevant or obvious.
Do everything you can to avoid disputes later, both with landlords and flatmates if you are going to share the property.