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Residential Lease Agreement

The Residential Lease Agreement - Explained

The Residential Lease Agreement - Explained

In Malta residential lease agreements are freely negotiated between landlord and tenant and usually quite straight forward. The nature of the lease is purely contractual and the terms and conditions are left at the discretion of the parties involved to negotiate. The Maltese civil code regulates such contracts of lease and the ordinary courts have competence in any arising dispute although the Small Claims Tribunal would be exclusively competent in the case of minor claims not exceeding a certain value.

Duration and Right of Termination

A lease lasting six months and over is usually considered a long let whilst anything under six months would be classified as a short let by Real Estate Agents. If after the end of the lease, the tenant is allowed to continue the lease, it is considered to be tacitly renewed under the same terms and conditions; for a period in respect of which the rent has been calculated that is for one year if the rent has been agreed upon at so much per year or for one month if the rent was agreed upon at so much per month. Tacit renewal does not take place if the landlord gives notice to the tenant to vacate. It is however usual for the parties to agree on a notice period as a contractual condition.

A common clause found in our standard agreements also allows the non resident tenant to terminate the lease should he need to leave Malta with a reasonable notice period usually further restricted to cases of “force majure.” Early termination by either party is also always possible in case of a serious breach of express or implied conditions of the lease and the parties are free to negotiate any additional grounds for early termination.

Security Deposit

The parties are also free to negotiate any amount of security deposit although this is usually equivalent to one month rent and is refunded upon termination of the lease provided that the property after having been inspected by the landlord or his agent is found to be in the same condition as it was when occupation was effected fair wear and tear accepted and that the tenant has paid all utility bills up to the termination of the lease.

Right to Sub-Lease

The tenant is not allowed to sub let the property or assign his/her lease to third parties unless such right is expressly agreed upon in the contract by the landlord.

Repairs and Maintenance

The landlord is bound to deliver the leased property in a good state of repair in every respect. The lease agreement usually distinguishes between ordinary minor repairs which are usually the responsibility of the tenant and major/structural repairs which are the responsibility of the landlord unless caused through fault or negligence of the tenant. The tenant is liable for any deterioration or damages which occur during his enjoyment unless he proves that such damages occurred without any fault on his part.

Right of Access

During the running of the lease, the landlord would have the right of access to the property at such times and in such manner agreed upon with the tenant in the lease agreement with reasonable notice (usually twenty four hours notice) to allow the landlord to fulfill his duties or to ensure that the tenant is performing his obligations as well as to show the property to prospective tenants should the current tenant indicate that he has no intention of extending the lease agreement.

Click here to download a sample lease agreement.