So you are moving to the Magic City and you are currently in search for the best rental.
Here is the information you need to know before you make your first appointment:
Be prepared to answer how soon do you need to move. In South Florida most rentals move within a month so if you think you’re going to hold the unit for two months before your move-in date, you may want to think again. Most renters find a rental within 2 to 3 weeks before the move date. This timeline includes new tenant application process for association approvals. Most associations require an in person or video call interview prior to your moving day.
2- Making an appointment to see a rental
In South Florida, the listing agent represents the landlord. Commissions are paid by the landlord to both the listing and renting agent.
Most rental showings require at least 1-2 days’ notice. Some rentals may already be occupied by a tenant ending their lease, please note some showing time restrictions may apply.
As established above, you should not have to pay any additional fees to your agent representing you as the tenant in a lease. However, your agent will most likely collect a month deposit to hold a rental until the start of your lease.
Once the rental is secured and a lease is signed, be prepared to pay with a cashier’s check or direct deposit. The reason why, is for your landlord to give you immediate occupancy without delaying your move day waiting for your check to clear.
Advanced rents are between two to three months’ rent (First month rent, Last month rent, and a Month rent for security deposit).
Your agent will assist you with the lease, value assessment, negotiations, payment collections, obtaining a set of keys and a final walk through to ensure your new lease starts smoothly.
4- Personal documentation
Please understand that in the South Florida rental market most properties are owned by investors who in many cases do not reside in the State. Therefore, most landlords require documentation and proof of income prior to leasing their property. It is hard for landlords to know who is a “real tenant”, looking to stay a full lease year vs a tenant relocating from out of State, looking to break a lease after a few months while they settle at their new jobs. Trust me, it used to happen a lot more than today. After the 2006 construction boom in downtown Miami, nothing has been ever the same for the rental market.
Once again, you will most likely be expected to pre-pay a month rent to hold the unit while your lease paperwork is finalized. Once the lease starts and you receive your keys, you are expected to provide payment for the first month rent which technically was your deposit to hold the unit. Depending on your lease agreement, you may have to pre-pay the first month of rent, the last month (Tenants tend to request the last month to be used from their deposit as rent. Landlords do not appreciate the risk), and finally you most likely will have to pay a month rent as a deposit against damages, to be held in an escrow account during your lease. Scroll to the end of the page to review a sample of the Florida lease used by my company which follows the standard State lease.
I always let my customers keep a copy to review at our first meeting. I know most people want to know what they are signing before they are under time pressures.
5- H.O.A. or Condo Application
Yes, you need to give them your social security number.
Yes, they need to verify your employment before they can approve you.
Most associations will charge you an application fee ($100-$200) per tenant over 18 years old. In some cases, married couples pay one application fee.
The application will include all your prior rental history, criminal background check, credit score, employment information, income, and or copies of your identification.
It is standard practice to ask tenants to provide a credit report along with proof of income for the landlords separately from the association application. This is because the association will not share your private records with the landlord.
I know by experience that having all this information prior to the application allows the landlord and listing agent to position your application with the condo board under the most favorable light.
25°47'27" N 80°08'50" W
Compass Real Estate
605 Lincoln Road, 7th Floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139