Second properties are especially popular in Malta. A recent survey found that almost 20% of Maltese residents own a second property somewhere in the country.
The obvious thing to do with your vacation property (or principal residence) when you aren’t using it is to rent it out. You probably don’t want to trek up to Gozo to change the sheets every time a short-term tenant checks out. And who wants to worry about a leaky roof while overseas for an extended stay?
Both situations are where good real estate management comes in handy. And also makes owning multiple income properties doable.
But Malta is a small country and, to some extent, the government has learned the lesson demonstrated by its Mediterranean neighbors. So, there is a fairly significant set of regulations on buying and renting property in Malta, which discourage run-away development and slipshod rental practices.
A good property management company in Malta can help you with the day-to-day operation and also guide you on how to stay within the letter of the law.
Are You Legally Allowed to Rent Your Property?
Before setting out on the search for a property manager, you should make sure that you’re legally able to rent the property you own (or intend to buy).
Recall that if you don’t meet the Maltese or EU residency requirements, you’ll need to apply for and get an Acquisition of Immovable Property permit. Two relevant stipulations of the AIP are:
- Non-residents may only buy one property.
- And it must be your primary residence.
One important exception is that these rules do not apply in the Special Designated Areas. They are areas of recent developments and are the only places where a non-resident could feasibly undertake a property rental operation.
Have You Completed Everything You’re Required to Do?
It is really essential that you make sure you cross the dot the i’s and cross the t’s before you jump into renting out your Maltese property.
A good property manager should be able to help you double-check this list of requirements before putting your property up for rent.
The Energy Performance Certificate
Malta’s Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations requires that every property that is put up for rent (or sale) have an Energy Performance Certificate and that it be presented to the prospective tenant.
These need to be renewed every 10 years. A good property management firm will help you stay on top of these details and keep certifications current.
Is a Property Manager Worth the Fees?
Can you manage it yourself? Sure! Do you want to deal with the hassle? Probably not.
The clear benefits of a solid property manager include:
- Making sure rent comes in on time. They’ll also help you anticipate any hiccups and be there to handle collect rent that’s in arrears.
- Improving the quality of tenants you attract to your property. Both through better ads and more careful screening a real estate management firm pays for itself when it comes to finding the right people for your property.
- From day-to-day to middle-of-the-night, hiring a property manager is about convenience. For both routine maintenance and emergency care, a property manager is there on the spot so you don’t have to be.
- In the worst case scenario — needing to evict a tenant — your property manager can get the process started as soon as possible and handle most of the details. It’s their role to protect your investment.
In fact, more often than not a property manager can help you to get a greater return from your property than you’d otherwise see.
Who Should You Take Referrals From?
Being skeptical is a good policy for this entire process. Especially if you’re clearly not from Malta, you may look like an easy target for the unscrupulous.
If you’re not going with a major, international firm (with a reputation to protect), look to online reviews or references that establish your real estate manager’s track record in Malta.
Questions to Use When Screening a Property Manager
Put this checklist to work when you have whittled your property management candidates down to a shortlist. Comparing how prospective options answer these questions will help you find the best for your needs.
- Which specific area of Malta do they focus on? If you’re renting a villa in Gozo, you don’t want a manager who is mainly based in Valletta.
- What size is their operation? Can they handle more?
- What tools do they use to set the best rent possible?
- If you plan to rent through a service like Airbnb, can they handle the specific rules and regulations involved? Will they do things like take new photos as necessary?
- How is rent collected? And then how is remitted to you as the owner?
- What fees do they charge as a manager? Do these vary if/when they need to find new tenants? Or when the property is empty?
- How do they find tenants? What tools are used to market the rental listing? And then how are prospective tenants screened?
- Under what conditions can either party terminate the management agreement?
Overview of Property Management in Malta
If you have the capital and legal ability to buy into the market and rent your properties out, you’ll want to look for a qualified property management firm.
- Researching the strongest candidates with plenty of referrals and objective public reviews.
- Finding out if they can meet your needs in terms of marketing the property, screening tenants, maintaining it and collecting rent.
- Determining that they have a good sense of the market and will be able maximize your revenue with the best rent possible and as little vacancy as possible.
- Being confident that they will look after your property as well as you would and will be available to handle unforeseen circumstances.
Hiring a property manager is a relationship based on trust and finding the right one is about knowledge. Drop me a line if you would like some more insight into finding a manager that is best for you.