The Private Residential Leases Act takes effect as of 1 January 2020, which means that any contract signed or renewed after this date must follow the new rules, as well as agreements that are in force as of 1 January 2021 (including all documents signed after 1 June 1995). The new law does not apply to social or touristic leases, nor for contracts signed before 1995.
Short-term rental contracts cannot exceed six (6) months in duration, while long-let contracts must be signed for a minimum of one (1) year.
Remember that your landlord must register every private rental contract with the Housing Authority, whether it is a new contract or a renewal. Check with your landlord to see if they have met this requirement.
You must be provided with an agreement that is recorded in writing. The rental contract has to include the following points:
- rental period;
- extension terms;
- amount of rent;
- method(s) of rent payment;
- amount of deposit
- inventory of appliances and furniture.
Termination and Notice Periods
While short-let contracts are terminated on the day of expiry, and neither the tenant nor the landlord has to give a notice, long-let contracts have strict notice periods.
In case of long-let contracts, the landlord must send you a notice three (3) months before the end of the rental duration if they do not wish to extend the rental agreement. If the landlord does not send you a notice, the contract automatically renews on expiry.
In case of one-year contracts, the tenant can withdraw from the contract after two (2) months with a notice period of one (1) month. For contracts of two years, the three-month period doubles—for leases less than two years the tenant can withdraw after six (6) months; for contracts less than three months the tenant can withdraw after nine (9) months; and for contracts over three years the tenant can depart after twelve (12) months.
Should the tenant leave before the periods above, the landlord can keep one month’s rent from the deposit to cover losses.
Should the tenant stay in the property after the expiry of the rental contract, they are required to pay for the extra days—the daily fee is the proportionate equivalent of the monthly rent.
Under the new law, the landlord commits a criminal offence if they forcefully evict the tenant who rents the property as a primary residence. This rule only applies to property rentals and not room rentals.
The tenant cannot be evicted, even if they fail to meet contract requirements, including the payment of rent. However, your landlord will involve the Rent Regulation Board, and you will be required to pay the missed rent, as well as related fines.
Payment and Bills
While the landlord can set the rental price on their account, once a contract is signed, the rental amount cannot be raised by more than 5% per year. This figure is in line with the Property Price Index by the National Statistics Office.
The tenant is also eligible for an adequate supply of water and electricity. Additionally, the tenant must be supplied with the correct utility tariff and bills.
Your landlord is legally bound to give you a receipt of payment when you are paying your rent.
The Housing Authority is the official body that oversees the market, while the Private Residential Leases Unit, a new body, will see its establishment soon. Landlords can register rental contracts on the official Rent Registration website, which is a useful resource for tenants too.
Remember, your landlord is bound by a set of severe requirements, and should they intentionally miss meeting any of their duties on your account they might face a fine of €2,500-€10,000.
Housing Authority representatives have the right to enter any rented home at any reasonable time to verify whether the tenant occupies them.
While the Maltese government expects the legislation to deliver security, the Malta Developers’ Association criticised the new rules. The MDA believes they will damage the freedom of landlords and tenants to draft up contracts.
Are you a tenant renting a room or apartment? Download our checklist to make sure your landlord is in line with the rules. Know your rights!
The present article serves the purpose of giving you general information and a general understanding of the law. The article is NOT legal advice. By reading our articles, you understand that there is no legal relationship between you and NoAgentFees.com. You should not act upon this information without consulting licensed legal entities.
Stay safe! Always record agreements in writing to avoid disputes. Verbal agreements are not legally binding. Always read the contract carefully. Take your time with it. If you do not understand something, ask for legal advice. You must understand the gravity of every single word and must make sure that details are correct. Sign every page if the document has many pages. Keep a copy of the agreement with you. Always consult a lawyer when in doubt.