Home Living Abroad The Cons of Living in Malta

The Cons of Living in Malta

16 September, 2017 15 comments

Recently I wrote about my top six reasons that you should move to Malta, so today I thought I’d balance it out and discuss four of the main negatives to this charming, funny yet infuriating little island. But listen, before you get yourself all worked up and tell me to ‘go back to England’ remember that this is a follow-up to why I love Malta so much so this post is just for the purpose of balance. So let’s jump right into the first negative to living in Malta, as the fact I need to preface this post ties in nicely…

1. Negatives of Malta: Go Back to Your Country!

Malta is a hub of multiculturalism. Even its revered culture is a mix of Maltese, British, Arabic, Italian and more. Yet the Maltese are still not fully comfortable with the influx of expats the last 10 years has seen. If you dare to complain about anything on this island or try to improve something, you’ll most likely be met with ‘well go back to your country!’ (or, as I experienced ‘fuck off back to your country!’).

I love Malta, this whole blog is a seven-year love letter to the island, but no country is perfect and just because I want to moan sometimes, or I think the country could be improved in certain ways, doesn’t mean I should ‘fuck off home’. In fact, people who refuse to accept that Malta is not perfect are the ones doing it the most harm. Nothing in life is perfect and those of us who care about this place, want it to be the best it can be.

2. Negatives of Malta: Construction

Everyone’s pet peeve and one of the biggest negatives of living in Malta. It’s everywhere. It’s ugly, it’s dirty, it starts at 6 AM and it never gets completed.

3. Negatives of Malta: Public Transport in Malta

I want to start off by saying that public transport has improved a lot in the last 7 years, but it still has a long way to go. I’ve never understood why we struggle so much with public transport when the island is so small, how can it be so hard to get right?

Busses are much more regular, more modern and more convenient than ever before, but they still don’t run to any recognizable schedule and the drivers are as rude as ever. The Talinja app is good for seeing when your next bus is arriving, it estimates the minutes and is usually pretty accurate, but you can ignore the timetables online and at the bus stops, they are really just there for show.

With the traffic being such a problem, public transport is still often slow and infuriating. But, I’d like to mention the Talinja cards, which make the whole experience a lot more convenient. You top up the card with credit and just scan the card when getting on the bus (they mostly only accept correct change so it can be a real pain if you don’t always have €1.50 ready!) and the new auto topup means you’ll never be left without credit again.

4. Negatives of Malta: Landlord

Ah, the negative of Malta that everyone has a story about. Landlords in Malta are, on the whole, horrific. There is a huge problem in this country with landlords letting apartments illegally (by not registering the rental income for tax) which means the tenants suffer by paying higher electricity rates. There is little to no tenant protection in Malta; you hand your deposit (usually one month’s rent) directly in cash to the landlord and chances are, you’ll never see it again, no matter how perfectly you leave the apartment. Try getting your landlord to help out getting things repaired and you’re likely to be fighting a losing battle. They are rude and greedy, constantly putting up prices, giving no notice and generally making renting in Malta a complete nightmare. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an expat or a local, at some point you’ll find yourself being ripped off by a landlord.

So if you live in Malta and are currently struggling with any/some/one/all of these issues, remember that you are not alone. We all feel it, but do your best to remember all the amazing things about this country as well!

15 comments

Stacy schembri 18 September, 2017 - 11:35 am

I am maltese, i will not tel you to go home since these are real facts. Good job for pointing them out. Lets hope it reaches the right eyes

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Chris 19 September, 2017 - 2:17 pm

I am British and have lived in Malta for the past 3 years.
1. I have found the majority of Maltese people are incredibly friendly, they will help you out in a pinch and will tell you their entire life story if you let them. Haven’t had any troubles at all with the locals.
2. Construction has to happen, especially for a country that is continuing to develop quickly considering it’s size.
Believe me for the fist two years I lived here they were building across my street. I work swing shifts and after a night shift, a jackhammer outside at 7am is unpleasant, but all construction finishes eventually.
3. I’ve been on 3 buses in 3 years so can’t really comment… but where I lived in the UK the buses weren’t any better. We had 1 bus an hour if it decided to show up.
4. I’ve lived in the same house since I arrived and my landlord is very nice. Our water heater broke after a few weeks and he bought and installed a brand new one the next day. Had a couple of plumbing issues and he showed up punctually and did his absolute best to help. While he may be the exception, just shows the are nice landlords out there. When I lived in the UK I always made sure properties were estate agent managed so not to deal with the landlord!

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James 6 April, 2018 - 8:18 pm

All of this is sadly true…Malta could use some improvement, specially in public transportation. Nonetheless, it’s many pros have made me appreciate the Island.

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Vershelle Reed 11 April, 2018 - 9:54 pm

Thanks . I am
Planning my first trip to
Malta and my plan is to
Move to the country from the US … in about 48 months …

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John 16 April, 2018 - 9:27 pm

A lot of countries have a severe public transportation problem, most of it due to poor maintenance. Sad.

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Tim 2 September, 2018 - 5:52 am

I recently accepted a job in Malta with the plan to move in the next 10-16 weeks. Any advice on preparing to move from the US?

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tony mead 3 November, 2018 - 10:01 am

everything you say is true about malta,we didnt get our deposit back with the lame excuse floor tiles were broken,we reported it and we where told, dont worry it happens with the heat,try getting on a X1 bus at mare dei,the bus is full when it leaves the airport.my wife was on chemo for three days when she came out we went on bus expected to stand all the way to mellieha as nobody was going to get up from the priority seats,we got off bus and got taxi,30 euros,try getting on a bus at gozo ferry to victoria,they pile all the tourists on with there luggage and block all, the exits and if you want to get off at ghajnsielem,no such luck the bus keeps going no mater how many times you ring the bell.And yes ive been told go back to Scotland if you are not happy with our wonderful island. If Only

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Lola Manfree 27 May, 2019 - 3:03 pm

I find Malta rather dirty. There is litter EVERYWHERE, more bins are needed; some bins are overflowing and never seem to get cleaned. Street cleaning is mediocre at best. Cigarette butts all over. Transportation can be a bit frustrating as busses can be rather full, so be prepared to have busses pass by without stopping because they are so full; you often have to wait for the next one. Parking can be tricky as there is a lot of cars…especially in the more popular areas of course. On the positive side there is a lot of things you can do in Malta. Lots of cultural events, concerts, meetup groups and the like. There are some great cafes and restaurants to try. Some lovely places with beautiful scenery.

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Rhi 27 May, 2019 - 4:35 pm

Totally agree. I am always surprised when I visit other countries and see how clean even their busiest cities are! But on the flip side, when I visit Uk supermarkets I can’t believe how much plastic there is! Literally every fruit and veg comes pre packaged. That’s one thing I dont find in Malta!

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MJH 5 July, 2019 - 1:18 pm

I think that the place is filthy where I live, namely, Mosta. Too many dog owners allow their animals to soil the pavements. In addition, their love of feral cats, presumably to keep the vermin under control, is a reason not to come here in itself – after all what goes in has to come out.
Dirty people still fly-tip, while the latest attempt to make Malta more of a recycling nation, wish pvc bags dumped for collection everywhere, cannot be regarded as funny.
For all that there are some wonderful things to enjoy, in the right parts. But not the traffic pollution, the Maltese driving, the overcrowded roads, or the perpetual dust from building new homes – some of which have recently fallen down prior to being finished. Also, the so-called improvements in public transport meant that bus loads of tourists from the Benidorm-like resorts make life really difficult for people who live here. The hoards of those on organised coach trips do likewise. are in general very friendly, but not averse to trying to overcharge you for a drink, meal or groceries here and there.
I wouldn’t live here out of choice.

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Rhi 5 July, 2019 - 1:48 pm

I’m living in a different area and even I can relate to a lot of this! I think I hear the most complaints from people in Mosta, so it must be even worse there, but general dirtiness is definitely an issue. So much dust, so much litter, way too few bins, people ignoring waste collection schedules and just a lack of infrastructure to hold the increasing tourism each year! I’m really sorry you’re stuck in a town you don’t want to be in. Although some of these issues can be seen everywhere, certain places are a lot nicer to live in.

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Cyril 19 July, 2019 - 1:10 pm

We are considering to move the Malta as a family with a 3 yr old and another one coming early 2020. We plan to make a first visit in September 2019.
Will the move be wise? What should we consider? What should we do during a 1 week visit. It’s not meant to be a touristic visit, but rather a time to explore and discover options that will help us to make our final decision

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Rhi 20 July, 2019 - 10:22 am

Hey! The first question “will the move be wise” is incredibly hard to answer as it depends on a multitude of factors. Like, what your quality of life is like now, what you’re looking for, where you’re coming from, what work you do. I’d say you definitely need to consider:
1. do you need a Visa, or are you an EU national?
2. finding work. Will you need to find jobs or are you self sufficient? If you need to find jobs, you’d need to consider if those industries are hiring here in Malta and how they pay. Most industries are incredibly low paid here and it’s really only iGaming or Finance that pays a comfortable wage.
3. what areas you want to live in- do you want to be near work (if so, where is that likely to be?) driving in Malta I’d not recommend (due to already suffocating pollution and horrific traffic) and public transport is unreliable and frustrating.
4. what is important to you? If clean air and greenery are important then you will not find them here. If you or anyone in the family has asthma, do not move here. But if you’re looking for somewhere that’s still relatively safe, has a relaxed way of life and revolves around the sea then you could be happy here. So long as you’re all in a position to travel often to get a kick of nature and clean air.

Whilst you’re here I’d speak to some estate agents, there are hundreds on the island but some of the big ones include Remax, Belair, Perry. Or join some facebook groups about renting in Malta to see what kind of rents are in various areas. I’d also go and visit those areas. Try public transport so you can get a feel for places. Somewhere may look close on a map but could take 1hour+ on a bus to get there.

Maybe even take a few job interviews. Everything moves slowly here so it’s not unreasonable to start looking for jobs now if you want to start around Sept/Oct/Nov.

Then, of course, if you need a Visa then you need to start finding out what you need to do. Probably you’ll need to apply for something and then your employer here will need to apply as well. I’m an EU national so don’t have much information on the Visa process but as everything is so slow, I’d recommend getting started ASAP.

I hope you enjoy your trip here and if you do decide to move, good luck!

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Cylien 27 August, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Why there is dust ? Where it come from ? The sand ? I am very interested about malta but now I am a little bit cooled.

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Rhi 27 August, 2019 - 1:40 pm

Mostly the dust comes from construction. There are laws regulating the amount of dust but there is zero policing or enforcement so whole streets and even towns are often drowned in clouds of dust whilst they demolish yet more buildings.

The sand is more natural, blows over at certain times of year from Africa. That’s annoying but it’s the man made dust pollution that’s giving us all asthma!

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