The Art of Finding Property in Malta to Rent

Renting is a core way of finding a home here. Property rentals in Malta are especially popular with expats who make up a very large segment of the country’s tenants.

That’s partly because Malta is such a popular expat destination but also because there are no restrictions on foreigners renting property in Malta.

Real estate agents are sometimes used but often property will be for rent in Malta direct from its owner. On the tenant’s side, some property negotiators specialize in finding rental properties and can be hired to help in your search.

Finding a home to rent can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. What’s the best town? How much should I pay in rent? What length of tenancy can I expect?

All these questions (and more!) are answered in this invaluable rundown on the details of renting property in Malta.

What Are Good Places to Look for a Property in Malta to Rent?

Malta is divided along a few important regional and geographic lines. Generally speaking, these are:

  • The north was the focus of development during the 200-odd years of British rule. It tends to be a bit more affluent and rents will be higher here.
  • By comparison, the south was developed during the rule of the Knights of St. John. Life in the south is generally more traditional, less business-focused and more Roman Catholic. Rents can be lower, but landlords sometimes have less experience marketing to and dealing with expats.
  • Rental property in Malta that is in or near Valletta (and especially in one of the fashionable suburbs like Sliema or St. Julian) comes more dearly than in the countryside.
  • Property for rent in Gozo, Malta is more likely to be a detached house or townhouse than a flat in a brand-new development. Gozo is a separate island and has a different way of life. As a result, a modest house might go for as little as €500 in monthly rent.

Property to Rent in Valletta, Malta’s Capital

Valletta is Malta’s densely packed capital city. Between offices, government buildings and churches there are a small number of properties for rent here.

Because the supply is limited and you’re competing against tourists interested in short-term rentals, the rent in Valletta tends to be quite high. A two-bedroom apartment in a modern building might rent for €1,500 or more.

Property to Rent in Sliema and St. Julians, Malta’s Most Fashionable Suburbs

The two coastal towns directly north of Valletta, are fashionable with tourists and white-collar expats alike. The further north you get, especially by the time you reach Paceville, the more likely you’ll be surrounded by a constant nightlife party, especially in the summer.

Property to rent in these areas is more likely to be apartment-style units in a building, some quite new.

Rents tend to start in the €1,000/month range and go up to twice that (and above) especially for multi-bedroom units and penthouses in new buildings.

Property to Rent in Mellieha in the North of Malta

Right up at the top of the island, near St. Paul’s Bay, Mellieha is (debatably) one of the best places to live in Malta.

There is a wide variety of rental properties available here — from detached bungalows to three-bedroom flats in modern buildings.

Mellieha falls in the middle ground in terms of rent with most properties clustering between €750 and €1,250/month depending on size and amenities.

How Much Do Malta’s Real Estate Rentals Go For?

There is a lot of variation in Malta’s long-term rental market. On the low-end, in places like Gozo and Malta’s western interior, you can find a home for two people for as little as €500/month.

In the inner suburbs of Valletta, it’s difficult to find anything for under $1,000/month.

Luxury apartments in the most fashionable districts can go for more than €2,500/month.

A seaside villa, in a popular area, that has more than three bedrooms and can house a family (plus guests) might be listed for €4,000/month in rent or more.

Other Expenses Related to Renting in Malta

On top of your rent, you’ll also want to budget for:

  • Utilities, including water, gas and electricity, typically run between €50 and €75 per month, depending on how much you use your heater in the winter and a/c in the summer. Add another €25/month for a decent-quality internet service.
  • Most rentals in Malta come furnished, but if yours doesn’t you’ll need to buy furniture.
  • Property negotiators or real estate agents who help you secure a rental will usually charge half a month’s rent plus VAT for their services.
  • A security deposit equivalent to one month’s rent is usually required by the landlord and held to pay outstanding bills or for damage. If it is not needed, the deposit is refunded at the end of the lease.

Malta’s Property Rental Market Receives Government Attention

Only a very small fraction of Malta’s property rentals are rent-controlled. And it is not possible for expats to access this part of the market.

Instead, most rental contracts are renegotiated from scratch when they expire. That can lead landlords to push for shorter rental contracts and large rent increases.

At the end of 2018, the Maltese government introduced a white paper that set out two options for stabilizing the market:

  • Require a minimum rental contract length and have annual rent increases set out in the contract.
  • Give property managers and landlords a fiscal incentive to negotiate longer rental periods and have annual increases pre-established.

It’s unclear how this question will shake out, but stakeholders, including Malta’s Chamber of Commerce have come to say that the status quo is not a feasible option.

Navigating the uncertainty around what will happen with Malta’s laws for real estate rentals could get complicated in the near future. That’s definitely somewhere that a property negotiator can help.

How to Satisfy Malta’s Residency Requirements With a Rental Property

Some of Malta’s residency schemes, designed to attract wealthy expats, have a real estate requirement. They specify a minimum value if buying or a minimum annual rent if you are leasing your home.

Specifically, the thresholds are:

  • For the citizenship-by-investment scheme your annual rent must be at least €16,000 and you must sign a five-year lease.
  • And for the investor visa program your rent must be at least €12,000 per year (or €10,000 if you live in the south of Malta or on Gozo.)

Finding a Your Perfect Maltese Rental Property in a Nutshell

Malta has plenty of properties available for long-term rentals. After number of bedrooms, choosing what area of the country you want to live in will be your first consideration.

A professional can really help sort out the details of finding a property in Malta to rent. It’s generally seen as a landlord’s market these days so having someone to help with negotiations is essential.

Let me know if there’s any way I can help make your search for rental property easier.