What to Know Before Renting in S. Florida

The question of buying vs. renting is an ever-present dilemma, especially as the cost of living in many cities continues to skyrocket. However, if you’ve found a home that you are completely set on making your own, you can find more information from metroplaces.com about how to make it yours.

As we’ve discussed in other articles, there are a few situations in which renting makes most sense as a real estate decision. Some examples include:

  • People who are on a budget and/or are saving money for a downpayment
  • Transient professionals who move/travel on a regular basis
  • People who don’t expect to stay in one place for >5 years
  • Homeowners in the midst of life transitions (new city, relationship, kids, etc.)

For first time renters or people who are moving to S. Florida from other parts of the country, this article is written just for you. We often get questions about the rental process in S. Florida, so we decided to address all of the common issues in one place. See Insurancequotes, Inc. for information on renters insurance.

Lease & Deposits

In the vast majority of cases, renters are required to pay the first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit equal to an additional month’s rent on day #1. This holds true across S. Florida as well.

The payment for the first/last months is obviously non-refundable and covers 1/6 of a year-long lease period. On the other hand, the security deposit is refundable and is returned to the renter at the end of the lease assuming no damages have occurred. You as a renter are subject to a tenant background check also.

We’ve seen instances where landlords require four months rent up-front, but this is usually negotiable and is far from the norm.

When using a real estate agent, the commission fees are deducted from the money that is paid to the landlord on the first day. In other words, renters aren’t required to pay additional fees besides the three month’s rent mentioned earlier.

Move-in Fees

S. Florida condo buildings are notorious for move-in fees. In our experience working in other US states, we haven’t come across such high move-in fees except in comparably large metros like Boston, Chicago, and NYC.

Expect to pay upwards of $300-400+ before move-in. These fees often encompass elevator reservation, application processing, key fobs, HOA dues, and pet fees (if allowed/applicable).

HOA Applications & Orientations

The majority of large multifamily developments in S. Florida are controlled by both a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and a management company.

All owners in a planned community automatically become members of the HOA and are required to pay dues each month. The HOA’s job is to provide oversight for the management company and enforce the rules and regulations of a community.

As a tenant, many times you’re required to submit a comprehensive application to the HOA before move-in. After all, the HOA wants to ensure only vetted tenants are allowed to reside in their community. These applications can be lengthy, taking into consideration a tenant’s background, financial status, previous rental history, employment, family, and driving record.

Shell Companies

It’s no secret many properties in S. Florida are owned by foreign nationals.

In contrast to other cities, don’t be alarmed if you never speak to (or even know the name of) your landlord. Many times, owners purchase units with shell companies and then delegate all operations and tenant interactions to an agent.

This practice is extremely common in S. Florida, so take this into consideration before moving forward.

Need help navigating the rental process? We have decades of experience and can help guide you to make the best decision: sales@spectrumrg.com or (305) 921-0972.