Frequently Asked Questions – Malta
Malta in General
Q. Is Malta an expensive country?
A. In recent years Malta has become more expensive. However, restaurants have still remained reasonably cheap in comparison to other European countries and local produce such as fresh fruit and vegetables are quite cheap. The cost for repairs and maintenance is much cheaper than in other European countries, but prices need to be fixed beforehand in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Q. Is the crime rate high in Malta?
A. In comparison to some other European countries, Malta does not seem to have such a problem with serious crimes. The country is an ideal place to raise children.
Q. I’ll be accompanied by my spouse when I move to Malta. Will it be easy for them to find work?
A. This will depend on their skills and what the labor market is looking for in any given moment. As the spouse is not covered by the work permit of the working partner, they will need to apply for their own.
Q. We are a same-sex couple and we would like to move to Malta. Will our relationship be recognized by the Maltese authorities?
A. Yes – same-sex couples have full rights in Malta
Q. Is Malta a child-friendly country?
A. Maltese in general seem to love children and for this reason it is commonplace to find children in restaurants with their parents. Also due to Malta’s generally mild climate it makes it possible for you and your children to enjoy a range of outdoor activities to suit everybody’s tastes.
Q. Are Maltese open to foreigners?
A. Maltese for the most part are friendly and receptive to foreigners. If you also try to learn the local language you will also endear yourself to the Maltese even more.
Q. Does Malta offer a choice of unfurnished, semi-furnished and furnished properties?
A. Generally speaking furnished properties are mostly rented out in Malta as the local economy is very tourist based. That said, you can also find unfurnished and semi-furnished properties that will normally include a kitchen. There is generally a large selection of properties available and usually things can be arranged according to the individual requirements of the tenant.
Q. Are Maltese landlords flexible when it comes to rent and property contents?
A. If a tenant is willing to rent a property for a least one year, sometimes a reduction in the rent may be taken into consideration. However, given that Malta has a very vibrant tourist industry, it quite unlikely that one could obtain a significant rent decrease on very sought after seafront properties.
Q. Can I choose the number of properties that I will be shown?
A. Depending on which relocation package has been purchased, you will be shown a minimum of ten or a maximum of twenty properties. Additional property searches can be carried out if necessary, but at an extra cost.
Q. If I see a property I like, will I have to decide immediately?
A. It is not advisable to wait too long before making a decision as the property market moves quite quickly in Malta. Therefore, it is best to secure the property as soon as you can.
Q. What are the fees involved in renting a property in Malta?
A. A security deposit will have to be paid to the landlord and this is normally one month’s rent. However, for more expensive properties be prepared to pay a deposit of two to three months. In addition to this, the first month’s rent will have to be paid to the landlord in advance. The realtor’s commission is usually two weeks rent and is subject to VAT.
Q. Are there any building fees that need to be paid?
A. If you live in an apartment building, you will also be liable for condominium charges that will be included in the rent or paid directly to the building administrator. These charges cover the cost of maintenance of the building, lighting, and cleaning as well as the concierge and garden upkeep if applicable. If you live in a private house in a residential compound, you’ll be liable for a monthly fee for the maintenance of the roads, lighting, upkeep of green areas shared with other residents, and compound personnel salaries. All of these expenses will need to be listed in the contract.
Q. How will Principal Relocation Company assist in renting a property?
A. Once we have identified a suitable property for the Transferee based on their needs and requirements, a valid contract will be drawn up which Principal Relocation Company will take care of. If the various payments necessary in order to move in are going to be paid by check, then the tenant will need to bring this check with them when the contract is going to be signed. If on the other hand the payments will be made by bank transfer, the owner will often ask for a receipt from the bank to prove that they payment was made. The owner could even insist that the Transferee cannot move in until the actual payment shows up in their bank account. The rental contract is usually signed at the realtor’s office and in the case of very expensive properties, the owner may even ask for a bank guarantee or evidence from the Transferee’s employer to show proof that they can meet the rent each month. If the contract is bring signed by a company, Principal Relocation Company will take care of the background work to make sure that Transferee has the signed contact at the realtor’s office ready for the signature of the landlord.
Q. Will I get my deposit back without any hassle?
A. Provided that you hand back the property and its furnishings in the state in which they were rented, Principal Relocation Company will usually be able to negotiate your deposit back without any problem. In order to facilitate the return of the deposit, we carry out a detailed property assessment and cataloging of contents in the presence of the landlord and tenant upon the tenant entering the property. This is signed by both parties as proof of how the property was rented.
Q. What am I responsible for while renting the property?
A. Usually the tenant is responsible for minor repairs with the burden for major repairs falling on the landlord. All Transferees are given a detailed list by Principal Relocation Company at the time when the move into the property of what they are responsible for.
Q. Can I make any structural changes to the property?
A. You can only make changes to the property if you have been given permission in writing from the landlord.
Q. What happens if I need to break the contract prematurely?
A. Principal Relocation Company will negotiate a diplomatic break clause that will allow you to rescind from the contract before the normal notice period.
Q. What utility bills will I be liable for?
A. All tenants are responsible for paying their own utility bills which include: gas, electric, and water. How much these will cost is based on how much you consume. When a property is rented, the utility bills usually remain in the name of the landlord and the tenant can pay the landlord directly the cost of the utilities. In this case, the landlord will usually ask for a month’s rent to cover any eventual nonpayment. If the utilities are put in the name of the tenant, any costs incurred for the transfer of the utilities will be included in the new tenant’s first bill sent by each of the utility companies. Principal Relocation Company through its thorough property inventory will read and register utility readings in the presence of the tenant and landlord.
Q. When will I receive the utility bills?
A. Utility bills in Malta are sent out every two months as estimated bills (marked with an E) and are paid through the bank or at the central office of the utility company. The actual bills (marked with an A) are sent every six months. To make sure that you are not overcharged; Principal Relocation Company will read all the meters as part of the property assessment and cataloging of contents and communicate these readings to the relevant utility companies. In the event that you don’t have a Maltese ID card, you will have to pay a deposit that will be refunded when you get your Maltese ID card. In most cases the water and electricity bill remains in the name of the landlord and the bill is forwarded to the tenant. This applies for the phone too in most cases.
Q. Will I be able to get cable television in Malta?
A. Malta has both cable and satellite options and Principal Relocation Company can assist you in opting for what will be most appropriate for your needs and requirements.
Q. How can I get a telephone?
A. ADSL is available throughout Malta and in order to get your phone connection all you need is your passport. In the event that you don’t have a Maltese ID card, you will have to pay a deposit that will be refunded when you get your Maltese ID card. Get a new connection can take up to a month, after which, you will receive your bill every two months. In most properties a telephone line is usually already installed.
Driving and Owning an Automobile in Malta
Q. Will I have to exchange my driver’s license in Malta?
A. All 27 European Union countries have an agreement where EU citizens can freely exchange their licenses in another member state. Therefore, citizens of the other 26 EU countries can exchange their licenses in Malta without any problem. Some other countries have treaties with Malta that allow their citizens to exchange their licenses in Malta, while for example this is not possible with American driving licenses. Your Relocation & Immigration Associate will let you know the status of your driving license’s validity in Malta and if it needs to be exchanged. Any driver’s license which cannot be exchanged for a Maltese one has a validity of one year and this license should also be accompanied by an International Driving License that should be obtained before you leave your country of origin. If you continue to drive on this license and the year is up you are breaking the law and risk being heavily fined.
Q. What documents do I need to buy a car in Malta?
A. No particular documentation is required apart from your passport.
Working in Malta
Q. Can I move to Malta and freely work there?
A. All citizens, excluding EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must apply for a Maltese work permit, even if, they only work for one day. Employment permits are normally issued for one year. Permits valid for up to three years may also be applied for at the express request of the employer provided sufficient justification for such a permit is given. This usually applies if a person already has a work permit which was renewed more than once. Permits may be renewed thereafter where a request to that effect can be justified. It takes approximately six weeks to receive the work permit.
Q. Can Principal Relocation Company help me find work in Malta?
A. We are a relocation company and not an employment agency; therefore, this is not a service that we provide.
About Principal Relocation Company
Q. How can Principal Relocation Company assist HR with their immigration needs?
A. Through a detailed consultation without any obligation with HR, Principal Relocation Company will assess the immigration needs and requirements of the company’s expatriate employees arriving in Malta. Once this has been established and a contract has been put in place, Principal Relocation Company will take care of gathering and preparing all the necessary documents in order to initiate the immigration process. After which, Principal Relocation Company’s immigration experts will follow the entire progress right up to the issuing of the work permit and the registering at the police department which follows afterwards.
Q. How can Principal Relocation Company assist HR in setting appropriate housing budgets?
A. Through the detailed Property Analysis Form that each Transferee receives at the beginning of their relocation process in which they detail their housing needs and requirements, our Relocation & Immigration Associates can easily see if the expectations of the Transferee match the reality of the local housing market. If there is any discrepancies between what is being asked for and the budget available with regards to the local market, we will contact HR immediately to inform them of any potential challenges that could come about from the Transferee’s expectations and to see if their budget is open to negotiation.
Q. Does Principal Relocation Company provide services in all of Malta?
A. Yes. All of our Transferees are assisted by local, qualified and experienced local counselors who are very accustomed to working with expatriates relocating to Malta.
Q. Does Principal Relocation Company offer assistance with group moves?
A. Yes and this can be done in any part of Malta.
Q. How does Principal Relocation Company deal with emergencies?
A. Principal Relocation Company has a 24-hr emergency helpline which is available to our Transferees as part of certain relocation programs. If the number is not part of your relocation program, it can be purchased as an extra service.
Q. Does Principal Relocation Company accept commissions from third party suppliers?
A. No, as a member of EuRA, we do not accept any third party commissions from realtors, removal companies, international schools, or any other business that our clients may come into contact with as a result of being relocated by Principal Relocation Company. This means that our clients are guaranteed to only work with companies from which we receive no financial gain — thus resulting in a completely impartial and neutral service delivery.