Best way to break a lease?

We moved to Malta a couple of months ago, and in June we signed a 12-month lease on an apartment. We are needing to return to the UK - my father is unwell, both my parents are currently housebound, and we want to support them as they start making the move to more suitable accommodation. We're thinking of returning to Malta next year.

What is the best way to break the lease on this apartment?

I see no specific penalty for breaking the lease, except for losing the deposit: "Deposit will be lost if the lease is terminated before the agreed termination date". There is also an abandonment clause if rent hasn't been paid within 7 days of the due date. We haven't signed up to any phone/internet/tv package so no debt would happen there. We're paying €100/month on top of rent for electricity & water.

In regards to breaking the lease, the actual owner is overseas. It's actually their apartment they were living in until just before we signed the lease. One of his grown-up children has power of attorney and collects the rent. Do you recommend we email the owner, or talk to the other person? And how much notice to give?

Sorry to hear of your circumstances.

I assume there is not a clause in the lease that if you have to leave the island due to circumstances beyond your control that you can give a months notice and leave? I ask because that was in our first two leases, not sure about the latest one, albeit I can't recall whether it said we would have our deposit returned or not. If terminated in line with the terms of the agreement then you could expect your deposit back, but many landlords will not refund it so don't hold your breath waiting for it!

In terms of who to tell, I would write or email the person who actually signed the lease contract and inform the other parties out of courtesy.

Many people do just walk away from their leases and return the keys without any problems, they lose their deposit but often no further comeback, especially if there are no bills outstanding.

Occasionally a landlord may try and take it further but if you have no assets to worry about in Malta you should be OK.

I am not a legal expert so if in doubt have a word with a Notary/Lawyer who can advise you. They do not normally cost a lot for a short consultation.

Good Luck


If its a nice place you'll be able to rent it out like immediately, so you could offer that to the owner and you pay the owner part of the commission - 1/2 a months of rent, might save you a bit.

The person who signed the lease is the son of the owner. We only have his mobile number, but will see him soon for the next rent payment. For the owner we also have their mobile, and their email address.

I have no doubt this place will rent out quickly, especially with how things seem to move with rental properties. It's quite a nice apartment in a good location.

In the end, we informed the owner's son when we paid the rent. It was received ok, and we have now left the apartment.

After checking the apartment & collecting the keys, he even gave my wife (with some luggage) a lift to the hotel we stayed in for the last night. It was all reasonably friendly.

Shame if we make it back next year we won't have the same landlord, I think we found a good one.

Nice to hear a positive result, good luck.