Features of Rental Real Estate in Florida

Estimated read time 7 min read

All residential real estate rentals can be divided into two types: private house rentals and apartment rentals in apartment buildings.

Renting apartments in high-rise buildings (condominiums, or condos for short)

In Florida, all high-rise buildings have a management company, which is chosen by the owners of apartments in the building, to solve all technical issues related to the operation of these buildings, hereinafter Condo Association.

The tasks of the Condo Association include ensuring the functioning of the building’s life-support systems: water supply, sewerage, air conditioning or heating of common areas, building security, cleaning of the territory and common areas. The costs incurred for the maintenance of the building are divided among the tenants in proportion to the size of their apartments. This monthly payment is called maintenance and ranges from $0.03 to $0.10 per square foot per month. The maintenance fee depends on the level of the building and its costs, as well as the number of tenants paying their bills. If a number of tenants do not pay their maintenance bills, they are disconnected from electricity and water, and the Condo Association assumes their portion of the costs, raising the monthly payment for the remaining tenants accordingly. Rent increases cannot happen more than once a year. This is the very reason why you should be careful when buying apartments in buildings where there are non-payments. The contract with the management company is usually re-signed every year.

The second very important thing the Condo Association does is enforce the condo rules. Condominium rules are agreements of the owners of apartments in a given building, who have agreed on certain rules in order to ensure the most comfortable living conditions for the owners. The main problem with these rules is that most of them were originally written by the developers of the building (those who originally built it). It is clear that the rules are written taking into account their interests and first of all favorable conditions for them to rent. In most buildings it is forbidden to rent for a short period of time and the minimum contract that can be formalized is half a year. These conditions were established specifically to encourage potential buyers to buy apartments. And the growth of prices for hotel rooms accordingly went up, thus creating a second reason to push people to buy their own real estate. Many property owners are people who buy real estate for the sake of spending the winter in Miami when it’s winter in the northern United States or Europe. And developers, very accurately understanding the mood of potential buyers that if you do not give them the opportunity to rent for a short period of time, creates an additional reason to buy this property. Here there is such an opinion, “why buy if you can rent” the same apartment for a month.

There are two ways to rent an apartment:

  1. an official contract with the owner. An official contract is signed on the basis of which the Tenant is approved by the Condo Association and becomes a full-fledged tenant with all equal rights as other tenants of the condominium.
  2. Not a formal agreement with the owner. In this case, the Tenant moves in as a relative or guest of the owner. And has no special rights in the condominium. In the case of this type of lease, the owner has no contract and is fully responsible for anything that may happen in his apartment. The Tenant is not protected from the fact that tomorrow the Landlord will have a more favorable option and he can evict the Tenant.

The basic rules of the official lease of an apartment (apartments):

The Tenant assumes the obligation to comply with the rules of the condominium and is responsible for the safety of the property of the rented apartment and the property of the condominium.

Interview (authorizing a certain person to rent the apartment):

The tenant is interviewed and verifies their non-criminal background. The cost of the interview ranges from $100 to $200. The vetting period for a prospective tenant is two to four weeks from the time of application. As a rule, the tenant is not allowed to enter the apartment until the official authorization is received.

Deposits (when renting an apartment for a long term, six months or more): In addition to the rent, the Tenant usually pays an additional one deposit for the security of the apartment, one deposit is deposited in the Condo Association’s account and is the security deposit for the property. The landlord usually asks for the last month’s rent in addition. As a result, the standard American contract requires the Tenant to pay four monthly payments upon signing the contract, two of which will be refunded after the end of the contract if no damage has been done to the apartment or condominium property. In some Condo Association condominiums, the Tenant is not required to pay three monthly installments.

Relocation. If the Tenant plans to move furniture, he or she must order an elevator in advance and deposit a deposit check of between $100 and $500 with the Condo Association, depending on building rules.

In terms of term, rentals can be divided into several categories.

  • Short-term rentals, from a few days to a few weeks. This type of rental is only allowed in a very small number of buildings. No more than 5% of the total housing stock in Miami. As a rule, such buildings are of hotel type and have all the relevant infrastructure. The cost of rent on the example of Ocean Reserve is from 150 to 250 dollars per day, depending on the season. In this case, a deposit of no more than 1000 dollars is taken. The tenant moves in without going through an interview at the Condo Association.
  • Medium-term rentals, from one month to six months. In this case, the same principles apply as for short-term rentals. The cost of rent, using Ocean Reserve as an example, ranges from $2,000 to $3,000 per month . The deposit is between $2,000 and $3,000.
  • Long-term lease, six months or more. A formal contract is signed. Deposits are made (one month’s payment to the Condo Association, one month’s prepayment, one month’s last month’s payment and one security deposit, totaling four monthly rent payments). The low rental price is determined by the high level of security for the owner. Accordingly, the price of rent will be from 1200 to 1400 per month on the example of Ocean Reserve.

Renting private houses

This type of rent is much simpler as it does not require any approvals, unless of course the house is located on the territory of a closed comuniti or club.

In case of a long-term lease the Landlord has a guarantee in the form of deposits, stable rental income, and the Tenant has a guarantee that he will be in the apartment regardless of the situation of the Landlord.

With shorter lease terms the Landlord has increased income, but also increased risks that the apartment will not be rented for the next period. And here the qualification of the Management Company, which will ensure the selection of tenants, is of great importance.

For the Tenant, the main advantages of choosing an apartment over a hotel room are:

  1. When vacationing with children, it is certainly more convenient to have a full kitchen and, accordingly, the ability to prepare the necessary dishes for children.
  2. From the point of view of economy. For example, in a standard one-bedroom apartment (one bedroom and one living room). There is a large double bed in the bedroom and sofas in the living room, which allows you to accommodate two couples, thereby saving money on accommodation.
  3. Service. Hotel-type houses offer all the services of 4* hotels and some even more convenient (e.g. barbecue areas). The house has: sauna, gym, business room, party room, barbecue area, swimming pools, tennis courts, Valet parking system, etc.

Good luck with the rent!

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