Accommodation in Malta: scams you should look out for

Hi,

Committing to renting or buying accommodation when you’re new to or have not moved to Malta just yet is always a stressful endeavour. Would you like to help us in putting together a handbook of what to look out for when house hunting in Malta?

What are the most common scams in Malta?

What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?

Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Malta?

What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?

Please share your experience,

Bhavna

Hi,
this is a topic for many people who want to settle down in a new country. The biggest mistake people make is to say what their  budget is. At a glimpse it appears to be sensible, but this statement is often used for overcharging tenants. For example a local houseowner wants to rent out his property for €300.00 per month and is reading my budget is €350.00 is tempted immedialtely to accept this offer. Therefore it is much smarter to check out local newspapers and real estate agents before you reveal what your budget is. Actually, never reveal your budget because some people will take advantage of it.

>> What are the most common scams in Malta?
1. Probably not returning you your deposit. In Malta, there are no any escrow accounts for such things and it is totally up to a LL whether to return it to you or not.
2. Another thing you should be aware of and clarify with your LL is whether you will be paying for utilities by Residential tariffs or Domestic.  If its domestic you will be significantly overpaying for electricity/water. Even though there ways to switch to Residential tariffs without LL's consent it's a pain in the neck.
3. And of course, never sign anything or pay ahead before viewing the property on site.

>> What are the red flags to look out for when scanning through adverts?
If you have enough time, I'd highly suggest you reading through the posts in this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1424089257881379/

>> Is there a list of registered or accredited landlords or real estate agencies in Malta?
No. When I was moving to Malta, I asked people the same question and the response I'd got was that there's no LL black/white list in Malta for it would be illegal (for some reason).

>> What authorities should be sought should one come across an accommodation scam?
The police, probably.

The rule of thumb when looking for the first rent here in Malta is to find the first rent through the real estate agents. (Dhalia, Frank Salt, REMAX, Quicklets) In this case you will be signing the contract compiled by the firm's layers in their office and your real estate agent will sign it as a witness. Having a correct 6/12 month rent contract is important  when applying for PR status and opening a local bank account.

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