Most tenants in Malta are non Maltese. When they arrive in Malta, they are totally unaware of the possible pitfalls.
The No. 1 pitfall is the utility tariffs issue.
I will not repeat what I have said in previous blogs. The blog piece “Which tariff is just right?” explains the three tariffs and when they are meant to be applied.
Most tenants are totally unaware that there are two residential tariffs. They reasonably assume that the default is the correct tariff. Why should they believe anything else? Unfortunately, in most cases, no one, not the letting agent or the landlord or Arms, tells them that this is not so.
If only one of these three key people or institutions were to provide tenants with this information, then the tenant would be able to make an informed decision.
As it is, in most cases, tenants sign the rental contracts totally unaware that they will be paying at the incorrect, extortionate domestic rate, designed for owners of EMPTY or occasionally used second homes.
No tenant would ever envisage that the consequences of this may not only be that they would pay much more than they should for their utilities. Another possible consequence is that, if they find out and refuse to continue overpaying, they might find themselves subject to garnishee orders on their salary and / or bank accounts.
Wouldn’t it be great if either ALL the landlords or ALL the letting agents or at a flight of fantasy (!), Arms were to give each prospective tenant this important information? Notice that it wouldn’t have to be all three, just one of these three key characters.
Unfortunately, we have met with much resistance when we have asked letting agents, landlords and Arms to do this.
However, I am so pleased to see that things are a-changing. Julie McKenzie has set up a real estate agency and has included wonderful amounts of information for tenants in her website, including information on this issue. She is also introducing the novel (for Malta!) idea of tenant references. Surely this will be a reassuring added feature for Malta’s landlords?
Onwards and upwards!
This is a link to her website: http://homerentmalta.com/