What is a Rental Property Lease?
The Lease is a binding contractual agreement between 2 parties. The Owner (Landlord) and the Tenant. Other terms for reference are Lessor (Landlord) and Lessee (tenant) in effect the Lessee (tenant) agrees to pay the Lessor (landlord) a set financial amount within a set period of time, for use of a property.
The Lease document is there to protect both parties. It will show in writing the length of time the agreement is to run for and any terms and conditions agreed by both parties. The lease will cease to be binding if either party breaks the terms and conditions laid out in the lease.
A typical Long Let Lease in Malta is at least 6 months, most landlords would prefer to sign a 12 month lease. For long residential periods a landlord will not accept less than 6 months here in Malta. There can be, by mutual agreement longer periods accepted, up to 5 years as an example. This is used generally by long term residents who have agreed to rental amounts remaining the same though out the longer term.
Any alteration to the lease after the initial signing, but before the initial end period; must be agreed by both parties. Technically the lease does not automatically renew itself as such but in Malta it is common for the lease to then revert to a month by month arrangement if the tenant continues to stay beyond the initial lease term. The Landlord has a right to ask you to sign a new lease at the end of every term, and the original ‘notice period’ should be adhered to.
Everyone who is moving into the property and shall be contributing financially to the rent should sign the lease. A husband and wife? both should sign. If there is a group of friends moving in to home share, every friend should sign. As an example – if the initial signatory moves out, and only he/she signed the agreement, then the remaining friends have no rental protection. It is very important for all concerned parties to sign the lease.
Should I have a Notary Check the Lease?
With next to no tenant rights in Malta, you should never rely on a lease 100% At the very least when both parties have agreed the terms and conditions of the lease, both parties should sign every page, with a witness also signing. HomeRentMalta.com would recommend a notary or other legal body to check over the lease and witness if possible.
Every point that was discussed and agreed at the viewing stage must be put in writing, a verbal contract is not binding. (Or should that be ‘even less’ binding)
If your prospective new Landlord is prepared to let you move in without any Lease. Then walk away, you have absolutely no rights in this instance, no matter how ‘nice’ they appear.
What do I pay?
When signing your lease it is important to have your deposit and rent in order. Confirm beforehand with the landlord how they wish to be paid. In Malta most landlords want to be paid in cash. If you present a cheque on the day that you are supposedly moving in, then the landlord may delay handing over the keys until the cheque has cleared. In most instances you will be expected to pay 1 month as a deposit plus 1 month rent in advance. If you have found your rental property though the services of an agent then you will also have to pay a fee to them. In Malta this is typically for the Landlord; half of the agreed months rent plus vat and for the tenant also half a months rent plus vat. In effect the agent receives 1 months rent plus Vat as a fee.
You may also as a tenant pay an advance on the utility bills. Again this should be agreed prior to signing and should be listed in the Lease document. Do not under any circumstances pay the full rent and deposit until you have signed and agreed the lease in the property and receive the keys.
HomeRentMalta.com would advice that all reference to utility supply and tariff be put in writing and also the means of your deposit being returned at the end of the lease.
Do Not Sign the Lease until you have read, understood and agreed with every word.
What should be in the Lease?
The Lease document itself can contain any conditions that both parties agree to; however essentials include;
- The Rental Amount.
- The Payment Day and Method.
- The Lease Start and End dates.
- The Address of the Leased Property.
- All contact details of Landlord – or Agent.
- An Inventory.
- Meter Readings on the Day of Moving in.
- All References to Utility Tariffs.