So you are out looking for your new home; you are “apartment hunting”. You are working with a great real estate associate who is showing you exactly what it is that you are looking for and you have a couple of great choices to pick from and are ready to make that much anticipated offer. Yo
u sit down to sign the offer which your agent has prepared for you and as they explain; you are hit with the harsh reality that you will need to come up with THREE MONTH”S rent to move in. WOW, that is a lot of money for a rental. So why is it that landlord’s require so much money; I mean after all you have great rental history, great credit, your income can easily afford the rent and you have no criminal record. Shouldn’t you be able to move in with just first month’s rent and the security deposit. The reality is that the answer to this question under these circumstances is probably “YES”; you should be able to move in with just first and security, you should be rewarded for having good rental history and good credit. In most instances both landlord and tenant would agree to this arrangement. However there are other scenarios more often than not that dictate differently. I would like to discuss the main issues which would prohibit a landlord from accepted the first month and security alone.
1. Many condo boards require a common area deposit equivalent to one month’s rent, or sometimes a predetermined amount. Therefore if the owner accepts the tenant with first month and security and the condo board gets the security then the owner has no deposit for damages on their property beyond regular wear and tear; the landlord would be exposing themselves to potential loses.
2. Many condo boards have what we refer to as rental restrictions. Sometimes these restrictions can cause issues with deposits. For example; a common restriction is that a unit owner may only rent the unit once per year. Sounds great to most owners especially those that occupy their units as primary residences; “Hey, we wont have that transient atmosphere of people constantly moving in and out”. But now look at it from the point of view of an owner who is renting out their unit. “If I rent this property out to this particular tenant and they stay for only 6 months or for that matter any period of time for less than the 12 month lease; in other words if the tenant breaks the lease I am stuck with an empty apartments with no income”. The landlord still has to pay the mortgage (if any), condo maintenance fees and taxes. Therefore, the owner who has such a restriction enforced by his association will be less likely to lower the move in requirements because they would prefer to guarantee the tenants lease performance for the entire term and this way if the tenant does break the lease the landlord can at least keep two month’s rental equivalent and still have the option to seek damages for the remainder of the lease term.
3. The landlord has simply had a bad experience before and is unwilling to take the risk again. Yes, this may seem unfair, as it seems like future tenants pay for the shortfalls of past tenants but it is the reality and a business decision that the landlord ultimately has to make.
In short, although there may be other reasons for the three months move in requirements these will typically represent the main reasons.
However, I will provide a warning for tenants; watch out for those landlords in foreclosure that are just looking to keep your deposits and collect rent until they get foreclosed. So how do you protect yourself. Well, first of all ask your agent to look up any Lis Pen dens against the property, try to find out if the owner is already in default. Also, if you are looking at a two bedroom with a direct ocean view in a full amenity building and the unit has granite counter, marble throughout and a jacuzzi in the master and the owner is asking only 1300 monthly, it may just be too good to be true. Scroll down to read blog on landlord / tenant laws on foreclosure.
At Miami Rent Seekers we specialize in residential real estate in the Aventura, Sunny Isles, North Miami, Hollywood, Hallandale, Bal Harbor, Miami Beach, Brickell and Downtown Miami markets. In recent months we have noticed a significant drop in the inventory levels for available rentals. I believe this may be attributed to several factors which we are noticing in the market.
1. The market is offering excellent rental rates for properties which in the past would have rented for much more.
2. There are many people unfortunately losing their homes to foreclosure, this sector is turning to the the rental market for there housing needs. Increasing the pool of potential tenants
3. Banks are placing REO or Foreclosure properties on the market for sale but not for rent.
4. We are currently in the “snow bird” season; therefore, many owners which have rental properties in buldings which allow short term or vacation rentals will simply take advantage of the increased rental rates for a vacation rental during the season.
In essence all these factors are adding up to a decrease in available inventory.
Our advise is that if you are currently in a rental property and you do not need to move yet, but your lease is expiring, that you simply negotiate a renewal with your current landlord. If you used a real estate agent to locate the unit in the first place, you can simply contact your agent and they will be happy to take care of the negotiations for you. When one of our associates attempts to negotiate a renewal with a landlord on behalf of the tenant they will typically suggest a rate reduction when appropriate due to market conditions; pointing out aspects of the deal like; your “great payment history”, the fact that there will be no down time for rental payments (no waiting for a new tenant), the idea that the landlord will not need to paint or clean the unit for a new tenant.
If you do not need another year, landlords are sometimes apt to renew for a shorter period of time. Again, the agent you originally used should be able to assist you with this process.
If you must move we recommend you contact an agent which is familiar with your desired area and you start your apartment hunt as early as possible. We recommend 45 to 60 days prior to your lease expiration. This will provide ample time and will avoid the pressure situation of having to settle because you are in a hurry. This will also allow proper time for the application process.
In short rental rates are still great; you will get much “bang for the buck”, but your choices may be less than in the past.
Miami Rent Seekers
Renters will often be faced with the decision of whether to opt for a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment. The majority of apartments available for rent are likely to be unfurnished apartments but there are some apartments which are available with furnishings. There are some situations in which it makes sense to choose a furnished apartment. Likewise there are situations in which a furnished apartment is not a good idea. This article will discuss these situations in an effort to assist the reader in determining whether or not it is better to rent a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment.
What Does Furnished Mean?
A furnished apartment may mean different things to different people. Some renters may expect a furnished apartment to have each and every room completely furnished with every possible piece of furniture. Typical furnishings may include a bed, a dresser, nightstands, alarm clock with built in radio, a television, stereo equipment, DVD player, an entertainment center, couch, coffee table, end tables, kitchen table and kitchen chairs. It may also include dining room furniture such as a dining room table, chairs and a curial cabinet. Others may assume a furnished apartment includes only the necessary furnishings such as a bed, couch, kitchen table and chairs. This essentially eliminates all electrical equipment as well as furniture deemed to be decorative in nature such as a coffee table, end tables or nightstands.
When is a Furnished Apartment a Good Idea?
A furnished apartment is a good idea for recent college graduates who lived on campus in a dorm room prior to graduation. These students likely have very little furniture of their own. In this case, renting a furnished apartment may be more economical than purchasing enough furniture to live comfortably in the apartment.
The overall cost of a furnished apartment may be higher in the long run because the renter may pay more but those who are unable to pay a great deal of money upfront to furnish an apartment might not mind paying this additional amount. For these renters, they are not likely to notice the impact of a slightly higher monthly rent payment but they would definitely feel the impact of significant purchases such as a bed, couch or dining room set.
When is an Unfurnished Apartment a Good Idea?
There are certain situations in which an unfurnished apartment is a good idea. This includes a situation where the renter has already accumulated enough furniture to furnish the entire apartment. In this case, selecting a furnished apartment would not make sense because the renter would have to find a location to store either his own furniture or the furniture supplied by the apartment complex. The cost of storage can add up very quickly. Additionally, the renter probably pays a higher rent to stay in a furnished apartment.
An unfurnished apartment is also a good idea when the renter currently does not have any furniture but is looking forward to purchasing furniture and has already saved up enough money to make these purchases. In this situation the renter will likely select an unfurnished apartment and plan on shopping for furniture almost immediately after taking possession of the rental property.
Storing Extra Furniture
Renters who opt for a fully furnished apartment when they already have a sufficient amount of furniture have to determine what they will do with their furniture while they are staying in the rental apartment. The options are basically as follows:
* Sell or give away all currently owned furniture
* Store your own furniture
* Store the furniture which comes with the apartment
While each of the above options is certainly valid, the renter should seriously consider whether or not they want to pay additional storage fees just to rent a furnished apartment. Renters who plan to sell or donate their current furniture do not face this dilemma but those who plan to store one set of furniture should carefully consider the price of storage. They should also consult with the leasing agent to determine if there are any contract items which prohibit placing furniture owned by the apartment complex in an offsite storage facility. There may be provisions which allow for these items to be stored but require them to be stored onsite.