Miami is among the most expensive cities for rental along with an involved process to live in a condo. It’s best to find a licensed, reputable real estate agent or broker you have rapport with to assist. They provide value in guiding you through the process, recommending areas, and are knowledgeable of building unit layouts/views/features, amenities and, importantly, general overview of condo association policies. Additionally, it’s best to secure an agent to represent your tenant interests as well as its advantageous because the owner pays both agent commissions. Be advised condo move-in is not fast, it happens within, and can take up to 1 month vs. apartments accommodate immediate move-in within 1 - 3 days. Begin working with a realtor 45 - 60 days out or sooner to understand your criteria, move timing, market factors such as season or occupancy levels, and budget.
While you may search consumer websites like Zillow, Apartments.com and HautePads et al, it’s best to review and make final selections via the MLS feed that an agent forwards via email. System transfer of data into consumer websites still has margin of error and because some sites allow manual entries, there’s likelihood the option is no longer available or is not an actual listing. For example, one giveaway is no unit # or an alphabet letter; condo building units are generally assigned unit numbers — first 1 - 2 digits represent floor number and last 2 digits represent unit layout — sometimes paired with alphabet letter, most commonly PH = penthouse, TH = townhouse, L = loft, etc. Select top choices then share with agent to schedule showings. Its customary or required 24 hours notice for showings, particularly if tenant occupied. For rentals, you will only visit 2 - 5 condo units/buildings (same for an apartment search). Allow 45 minutes to 1 hour plus drive/walk/parking per unit/building. Roommates and couples should have both parties present for agreement. Separate showings for each party are not favorable and neither are re-shows. Dress comfortably for walking and standing and be prepared to take photos and videos, as viewings are scheduled once.
Note: Some condo building rules, landlord agent availability, and tenant occupancy prevent showings on weekends; generally, showings are best weekdays 10am - 4pm. Apartment buildings are available to see daily without notice, generally 9 am - 5 pm.
There are two parts: (Part 1) Unit/Owner and (Part 2) Building/Association. An owner has to accept offer and execute lease then you get approval from association (executed lease and addendum assigning unit to tenant signed by owner required in application to association).
Part 1 Unit/Owner
i) up to a week to execute offer/contract to lease that is prepared by realtor, signed by prospective tenant(s), and can only be considered by owner if submitted with verifications; some owners may require tenant(s) pay for and complete a background check
ii) if accepted, deposit equal to 1 month due immediately and will be held in escrow (letter provided), usually as credit to first month rental payment
iii) up to a week to execute lease i.e. receive both owner and tenant(s) signatures
Part 2 Building / Association
Questions regarding the building are best addressed directly to the condo association as opposed to agent(s) as rules and fees frequently change.
iv) up to 3 days to submit tenant application direct to condo association after offer acceptance and lease execution; delay could lead to liabilities for the tenant(s) such as later condo association approval and move-in date that the owner would be within right not to pro-rate days missed after lease start date; tenant(s) are responsible for turning over all pages in application requiring owner signature to agent so it may be forwarded to owner to sign in timely manner to not have submission delay; applications must be completed in full as incompletions will result in rejection or delay
v) up to 2 weeks for condo association approval (letter provided); payment in form as specified for application fee with submission; other additional fees, refundable or non-refundable, may be due with application or upon approval
vi) immediately forward condo association approval letter/email to agent for move-in day walk thru to be scheduled (allot 45 minutes to 1 hour) during which tenant(s)
inspect(s) unit to be in tact or document damages to not be held liable for; take photos and videos
receive(s) unit keys
turn(s) over balance payments (last month + security deposit) in form of cashier’s check(s) in amount(s) as specified
condo association may require an orientation which tenant(s) must schedule directly; building fob(s) are provided either by owner’s agent at walk thru or by condo association at orientation
Note: Above timeline is a gauge. Factors and circumstances can delay or advance process.
List price is potentially negotiable $50 - $100 off, up to 5%; agent should provide recommendations on offer price or pre-negotiate with owner agent, however, the final decision is always per owner. Typically, lower priced or best floor plan/views units either receive an offer to go into contract quickly, have competing offers, or only accept offer at full list price.
Move-in dollars are generally (Part 1) 3 - 4 times the monthly rental price + (Part 2) up to $1,000 for additional fees (owner required background check, condo association application and additional fees)
$2,000 rental price x 3 (first month*, last month, security deposit) = $6,000
*Deposit equal to 1 month due immediately and will be held in escrow, usually as credit to first month rental payment; balance payments (last month + security deposit) in form of cashier’s check(s) only in amount(s) as specified are due day of move-in at walk thru when unit keys are received
Included in rental price are condo building maintenance/HOA fee, water, waste/sewer; depending on building basic cable and internet/WiFi may also be included in rental price; electricity/FPL is always excluded and paid by tenant(s) directly
Apartments do not have any inclusions in rental price; utilities are each billed separately, monthly to and paid by tenant(s) directly
Application fees charged by condo association are per applicant/married couple (with proof of license) and non-refundable; most require a refundable security deposit for common areas ranging from equal to 1 month of rental price, to half a month, to flat fee of $500; fees are subject to change
Up to $1,000 as applicable below, per building
$100 - $200 application (non-refundable)
$250 - $500 elevator/move-in/move-out (refundable, non-refundable)
$50 - $250 pet deposit/DNA test (refundable, non-refundable)
$75 and up fob(s) (non-refundable)
$150/month and up additional garage space
$50/month and up storage unit
Apartments do not have an association thus do not require an additional security deposit, but may charge an additional fee or deposit for lower credit score; they have same additional fees shown above within similar ranges, although application fee tends to be slightly higher yet there may be discounts for certain professions or companies
Note: The MLS listing usually reflects move-in dollars due for (Part 1) unit plus (Part 2) condo association application fee only; other applicable building fees are provided by the condo association
Agent representing tenant(s) work with clients exclusively and at no fee to tenant(s); owner pays both agent commissions. As agents only receive compensation at transaction close walk thru (i.e. the day tenant(s) receive(s) keys), it is imperative to please commit to only your agent for this process since there is front-load of time to advise, research, prepare comps, schedule tour, show and negotiate on your behalf in addition to their knowledge and value-add referral connections.
Owner decides rental price and payment terms such as accepted form, returned check or late fees. Some listings reference a certain credit score for consideration.
Condo association sets application and other additional fees as well as requirements/processes for approval.
Condo association sets not only fees for elevator move-in/move-out fees but also schedules dates, many buildings are weekdays only 10 am - 4 pm while select others allow Saturday or there are service elevators.
Fees for background check if requested by owner and required with application to condo association are non-refundable as they are services.
Fob(s) are only given to tenant(s) on lease. Generally one per unit; owner may not provide additional for 2 or 3 bedroom units and if so tenant(s) responsibility to purchase via association.
Parking space(s) are assigned by unit and managed by condo association. Generally one space is deeded with unit for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units.
Proof of rental insurance may be required before move-in by an owner and/or condo association.
The documents below must accompany offer/contract to lease to the owner for consideration:
completed rental application
scan of driver’s license/government issued id (e.g. passport) for all adult parties to live in unit
last 3 months bank statements
pay stubs last 3 months or employment letter validates 30 times rental price e.g. $2,000/month x 30 = $60,000 salary/income
Visa documents can replace above for international tenant(s); international criminal background check conducted by condo association takes longer, at minimum 10 business days/2 full weeks.
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