Q. Why do most Miami rentals charge first, last and security deposit up front. That’s a lot of money!
A. You’re right. It is a lot of money, and the answer is simple. Most buildings in Miami were built as condos, not apartment buildings. Repairs to condo buildings can be much more expensive than repairs to an apartment building (think lobby, elevators, cabinets, flooring, etc), so in addition to the landlord’s deposit, the condo association charges a one-month security deposit to help protect the building. The vast majority of stabilized condo buildings in Miami do this. The condo association usually holds onto the security deposit (not the landlord) for the duration of the lease.
Q. I want to rent a house. Do owners charge first, last and security deposit as well?
A. In Miami, yes. The condo market sets the pace for the local rental market, and most homeowners want to know they have rent in hand and a security deposit if anything goes wrong.
Q. Renting seems so expensive, with deposits and everything. Should I just look at buying something?
A. Every situation is unique, but consider this: in most buildings right now, your rent only covers the cost of the unit’s property tax and monthly assessment (if that). So considering the alternative, renting in this environment looks pretty attractive.
Q. How early in the process do I need to begin looking at apartments?
A. Three or four weeks prior to your move date is typical. Many associations take a week or so to process your application, so take that into consideration. If you’re looking to rent a home, you still need 1-2 weeks in advance to all the homeowner to prepare the lease and collect the proper documentation (credit check and criminal background check).
Q. Like many people, my credit is less than great right now. Can I really get into a nice highrise building?
A. Every condo building has their own guidelines, but most are not unreasonably restrictive right now. If you have a good rental payment history, and your income sources are adequate to cover your rent, you’re off to a good start. Condo associations are usually much tougher if you have any type of criminal record (associations usually pull credit and criminal reports). Ask your leasing agent for details.
Q. How do I schedule a showing?
A. Call the listing agent listed at the bottom of the property page. That’s the benefit of using our search – you get to go straight to the source!