Hi Internations Community!
I am a Hungarian expat. I just recently moved to Malta, so I thought I can help my fellow expats with a few advises regarding to life and especially apartment rental. I work as a property consultant for one of the best agencies on the island. However, I think my personal experience is more helpful at this point.
First of all, I left England because of the weather, and because it was way too expensive - even-though I worked as a Cinema Manager. There were not many other countries with legal right to work and live other than Malta which is a bilingual, English speaking country. I mean, I wanted to find a sunny country where people speak English, and I can make enough of an honest job to have the possibility for a happy life. So the decision of moving here was easy, as I researched Malta well enough, and more or less I have found exactly what I expected.
The country is not only one of the safest, but the people are genuinely relaxed and happy. The amount of sunshine which this country gets is truly the best in Europe. Ok, there are not many sandy beaches, but you can get used to it, as the water is still warm in November, and you don't have to worry about sharks etc.
Finding a job is not difficult, but it is better if you keep an open mind from the start. Do your research, and if you can visit before you move here, as I did, you will know what you find here. There are all types of available jobs, and if you work, you can make a living. For sure, your money will take you further than it does in England.
People say that Malta is small which is true geographically speaking. I lived in London taking the tube to and from work, so how much did I really see out of London? Not enough. I mean what you call small is relative. Sliema is as cosmopolitan as London's Soho. I found it easy to convert my lifestyle and to get into a daily routine. There are many beautiful places to visit, so I guarantee that you won't find yourself easily bored. Malta is all about tourism and entertainment. Because of its unique characteristic, the country is a favourite destination for tourists and language students. There are more and more companies opening their headquarters in Malta, so I think we can envisage an economical boom coming soon. I think this is the perfect time to move here. Speaking of which, I'd like to give you some basic idea as to what it takes to find an apartment in Malta.
First of all, it is unnecessary to do a major research before your actual arrival. Due to the size of the country, the apartment market is really quick, so apartments are usually being rented within days. The demand is high, and the supply is low, so the market is really competitive. You need luck and a realistic idea what you can get for your budget. Most people come with a €400 budget and want a modern, close to seafront 1/2 bedroom apartment with terrace. Trust me, generally you won't find anything like this in the Sliema area for this price!
If you want to find a modern, 1 bedroom apartment in St Julians/Sliema, you need around €500 realistically. Usually the owners are willing to negotiate the price and you can get an apartment €50 cheaper than the asking price. When I came here, I followed the advice of other expats, so I focused on the St Julians and Sliema area. It is really hard to imagine how small this area is until you actually get here. Now, I live in Swieqi which is an upcoming area a minute walk from St Julians. Personally, I love it. It is close to everything, and even I can park my park without too much hassle. However, I was really lucky to find my modern 1 bedroom apartment through the agency which I started to work for after I moved here. There are very limited available properties here too. There are also Gzira and Msida as slightly cheaper options.
2/3 Bedroom apartments can be found from €550 upwards. Of course, if you are after a luxury apartment (Tigne Point, Portomaso, Tower Road, or The Strand) the prices are much higher. Prices can go up to € Protected content penthouse with a pool in Portomaso). Just Landed, where I advertised quite a few apartments, can give you a very good idea what's out there for your budget.
The rules of the Maltese rental market are similar to other European or global markets. When you rent an apartment, you pay the monthly rent in advance along with one month's deposit and if you use an estate agency, you will pay the fee which is 10% of the total rent for short let (up to 5 months) and half a month's rent for long let (for a minimum of 6 months). When you rent an apartment, you always have to pay for water, electricity and internet on top of the rent. These are not included in the rent. I don't know a place other than L.A where you don't have to pay these expenses separate of the rent. However, people ask for all inclusive rental prices many times. In Malta the water and electricity are expensive due to the lack of natural resources. You have to watch out for these otherwise you can end up paying hundreds of euros...
There are not too many good sites where you can find apartments, but it is close to impossible to find one directly from the landlord. However, the agency fee is cheap enough, and I had no problem paying it for the right apartment. Just Landed is a perfect site to start your research. The Craigslist or Gumtree of Malta is Malta Park - Protected content also, Ok Malta is a frequently updated site with good rental options - Protected content
Don't forget Malta is small. The country generates most of its income from tourism. Renting during the peak season is much more expensive than the off season rental. The prices you see advertised usually long let prices. For short and holiday lets owners charge a much higher price and there are not too many properties available to rent on a lower budget.
Malta is an excellent place to live, work and visit, but it is not a poor country, so you have to have realistic expectations before you come here.
I hope this helps!
Please feel free to ask questions or leave your comments. Also, I am happy to help if you are looking for an apartment. Please email me directly Protected content