Looking for a place to live in Malta

This is the sequel of our move to Malta. We visit Sliema real estate agencies in order to find an accomodation. We’re looking for a clean, quiet, furnished place. We think of short term rental but real estate agents advise us to choose a longer lease, at least 6 months because it’s cheaper and we can always leave before the end of the lease.

We visit a first apartment with an agent. As we leave, he tells us that he knows the building well because the apartment we have just visited belongs to him. Then he shows us a second apartment. That one belongs to another real estate agent. To us it’s strange that he has only two apartments to show: his apartment and one of his friends’ apartment.

On the following days, we view other apartments that are not great. We revise our budget upward and start visiting again. We choose a apartment with sea view. The agent phones the owner and we learn that the rent has increased by 50 euros. It’s hard to know whether the owner has changed her mind or the agent has lied about the rent. We decide to think about it because we don’t like this way of doing things.

drawing of Sliema Waterfront

Sliema Waterfront

The next day, we select another apartment without a view but less expensive. We sign the lease with the agent. We carry our luggage to the apartment and start cleaning it. We are in a good mood. Suddenly, we look worryingly at one another when hearing a dog barking. Yet we have visited the apartment twice and there has been no sign of animals’ presence in the neighbourhood. We are rightly worried. The dog is on a balcony facing our bedroom’s window. Apparently, its master keeps it day and night alone on this surface of a few square meters. The dog barks non-stop until 3 AM.

After a sleepless night, we go directly to the real estate agency. We make an appointment at the apartment with the agent and the owner. On the spot, we learn from a neighbour that this barking has been lasting for months. That’s enough for us. My partner manages not without difficulty to negociate a lease cancellation. We give several tens euros to the landlady to pay the night we have spent in her apartment. The agency cooperates because they hope we will take a more expensive apartment.

That other apartment is some distance from the town centre but, according to the agent, very quiet. We move again our luggage and sign a new lease. The landlady insists on being paid in cash. That’s because she probably doesn’t declare rental income like many landlords in Malta. Even the agent’s commission is paid in cash. The apartment is indeed relatively quiet and we have a much-needed good night’s sleep.

Now that we have a roof over our heads, we take care of the things to do when you settle somwhere: bank, phone, internet, health insurance, change of address… Then we get back to the daily routine, adapting it to our new environment.

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