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
For many renters the possibility of using a rental situation to save money is a foreign idea. These renters often bemoan the fact that they have to rent a property rather than purchase a property because they feel as though not owning the property is basically throwing money away each month. However, this is not entirely true. While there are certainly benefits to homeownership and building equity homeowners can also benefit financially by renting an apartment rather than purchasing a home.
While it is certainly true that money spent each month on rent does not get the renter any closer to homeownership while each monthly mortgage payment makes the homeowner one step closer to owning the property completely. However, this is not the whole story. Renters should also consider the amount of money they will be able to save annually for the purpose of purchasing a home by living in a rental property right now.
A Smaller Apartment Can Lead to a Bigger House
Some would be homeowners find renting a small apartment can allow them to start saving for the purpose of purchasing a house in the future. Renters who are willing to sacrifice comfort now and stay in the smallest apartment possible will likely be able to save the most money towards purchasing a home.
In general the monthly rent for an apartment is based on a value per square foot. This value may vary slightly from one property to the next but is likely to be very similar in properties in the same general area. This means apartments which are smaller in terms of square footage are likely to be less expensive overall. Therefore renters who would normally feel more comfortable and able to spread out might opt for a smaller apartment just so they can begin saving more money for their home purchase.
Budget Wisely to Save Money
Renters who want to save money for the purchase of a home while renting an apartment should understand their monthly rent is not the only factor which may prevent them from saving money while they rent. For example entertainment costs should carefully be considered when a renter is trying to save money. Most rental properties have a fully equipped kitchen making it ideal for the renter to prepare meals at home as opposed to going out to eat. Renters who cut down on eating dinner out may find they are able to save quite a bit of money each year.
Likewise renters who are spending an excess amount of money on superfluous items may have difficulty saving for a house while renting an apartment. Examining all current monthly expenditures can help the renter to determine where there is the potential for financial savings. Making changes such as debt consolidation may be one way to decrease monthly bills but this is certainly not the only solution. Renters can make other changes such as canceling subscriptions to premium movie channels, minimizing cell phone plans to include only the amount of minutes used each month and making changes to insurance plans to result in an overall savings. Changes to insurance plans may include having your car and renter’s insurance covered by the same carrier. Many carriers offer discounted services to renters who are willing to bundle their services. All of these slight changes can help to enable a renter to save money for a home purchase in the future.
Maintenance on a rental property can be a confusing issue. Renters may mistakenly assume all maintenance is the responsibility of the leasing agent and maintenance staff but this is usually not true. In many cases the leasing agent and maintenance staff are responsible for maintaining the common areas and performing major repairs on the apartments but the renters do typically have some responsibilities. These responsibilities are often defined in the rental agreement and the renter should familiarize himself with this document to verify his rights if a dispute arises.
Typically renters have the responsibility of maintaining their apartment and the surrounding area. This may include the interior of the apartment as well as deck or patio space. However, maintenance of these areas applies to generally cleanliness only and not issues such as painting or repairs to the exterior or the interior of the apartment structure or the appliances within the apartment.
Additionally, renters are responsible for small repairs in their home. This may include plunging a clogged toilet or changing a light bulb. However, if there are any duties a renter feels uncomfortable performing such as changing a light bulb in a high location, the renter should contact the maintenance staff for assistance.
Renters also have a responsibility to show common courtesy to other renters by not intentionally damaging or otherwise marring public areas. This includes vandalism, littering and even failure to pick up after dogs. Renters who fail to follow these rules of common courtesy may be subject to fines or other penalties according to the rental agreement.
Leasing Agent Responsibilities
The leasing agent and maintenance staff are generally held responsible for major items such as repairs to the exterior of the building, fixing appliances which are malfunctioning and dealing with plumbing issues such as leaky pipes. Additionally, the maintenance staff is responsible for intervening if the renter is having trouble with public utilities. Problem such as no hot water or heat to the apartment should be addressed by the maintenance staff in conjunction with the public utilities entity.
The leasing agent and maintenance staff is also responsible for maintaining the common areas. This may include keeping grassy areas manicured and other common areas looking clean and attractive.
When the Leasing Agent is Not Taking Responsibility
As previously discussed, the leasing agent has certain responsibilities to perform tasks and address concerns and complaints by the renters. However, when the leasing agent is not fulfilling these responsibilities it could create a harmful living environment for the renter. For example hot water is required to adequately clean dishes. This is why there should always be hot water to the apartment. Additionally, in severely cold weather the inability to heat the apartment due to faulty utilities or windows which are not properly sealed can create a hazardous condition for the renter.
Both of the examples mentioned above are situations in which the renter may put in a hazardous condition by the leasing agent’s negligence. In these situations the renter should contact the Department of Housing to determine the proper cause of action to take in this situation.
In some cases the renter may be informed the alleged transgression by the leasing agent is not actually his responsibility. However, in other situations the renter may be informed that the actions of the leasing agent are a serious violation of the rental agreement. In either case, the representative can provide information on how to proceed to achieve the desired results.
While there are some renters who view renting an apartment or a house as a failure, there are others who see the benefits there are to be gained from renting a property as opposed to purchasing a property. Some of the benefits of renting include the ability to save money while renting for the purpose of purchasing a home, few maintenance requirements and the inclusion of amenities which the renter would not likely be able to afford if they were to purchase a home instead of renting. Although there are some negative aspects to renting an apartment, this article will focus exclusively on the benefits of renting a property.
The Ability to Save Money
Being able to save up a great deal of money for the purpose of making a down payment on a dream home is just one of the many great advantages to renting a property. Many homeowners were able to realize their dream of homeownership only after living in a rental property for a certain amount of time. Although renting is often criticized as throwing money away because it does not result in equity, the ability to save money while renting is unparalleled
Rent for an apartment is usually considerably less expensive than the monthly mortgage on a home. The home is also typically much bigger than the rental property but in cases where the renter is renting for the sole purpose of saving money, the value of renting cannot be denied. Depending on how long the renter stays in the apartment, they may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars during the course of the rental agreement.
No Maintenance Properties
Another advantage to renting a property is there is typically little or no maintenance required by the renter. This is especially true in an apartment situation. The renter may be responsible for small items such as changing light bulbs but more extensive repairs such as leaks in plumbing or clogs in drains are typically handled by the maintenance staff of the rental property.
Additionally common areas such as grassy areas or gardens are maintained by the maintenance staff. The exception is usually when the renter rents a home as opposed to the apartment. In these cases the renter may still not be responsible for small repairs but might be obligated to take care of items such as maintaining the grass.
Another advantage to apartment living is often the amenities offered to residence. Such amenities might include usage of the pool, an exercise room, meeting spaces and a theater room. In most cases these amenities are offered free of charge to resident and their guests. Many renters who might be able to purchase a home would not likely be able to purchase a home with amenities such as a pool, fully equipped exercise room and a home theater.
These items are often considered luxurious and are not available in the majority of homes which are on the market at any particular time. In fact searching for homes which specifically have these features may severely limit the number of search results and may result in no search results at all when these features are searched in conjunction with a typical price range. However, those who rent can enjoy access to these amenities. They may pay more in rent than those in a comparable apartment complex without these amenities but they are also still likely saving a considerable amount of money each month as long as they are budgeting wisely and have chosen a rental property within their price range.