The Fort Lauderdale and South Florida rental market is always very busy. Rental apartments that are larger, clean and near the beaches, shopping and nightlife don’t last on the market more than a few days. Annual rentals are the focus of this article, as short-term, seasonal, vacation rentals have their own unique markets and requirements.
Prospective tenants do not pay a commission to use a Realtor when finding and apartment, so it is in your best interest to hire an agent who knows the areas you want to live in, has knowledge of the apartments available, and knows how to negotiate good terms for you based on your credit background and income history.
Moving to South Florida
We need to do a couple preliminary steps as you’re coming here from out of state or the country.
- Do you have a job setup here? If so, a letter of intent to hire from your new employer will be required, which must state job position, hire date, and salary. If you don’t have a job set up, you’ll need to prove at least 6 months rent in savings.
- I need you to complete a credit/background check to determine what you will be qualified for. Some rentals will have minimums score requirements. Background checks for non-US citizens could take longer to complete. Costs of all credit/background checks are the tenant’s responsibility.
Requirements for Rentals in South Florida
3 Times the Monthly Rent typically is required. It represents First & last month rent plus security, and sometimes first and 2-months security. You’ll be required to put down 1 month rent as deposit when you submit an offer. The remainder is due upon move-in. There are rare occasions when only first month rent and security is required.
BACKGROUND & CREDIT
A Credit, Eviction, and Background Check will need to be authorized and provided to the landlord. Fees vary from $35 to $100 per occupant above 18. This report is needed to review your ability to pay, report any evictions and/or criminal history. The credit portion will provide the FICO score along with a summary of your credit file, showing outstanding/closed accounts, the balances, your payment history and any bankruptcy filings. Typically, a score above 550 is acceptable, as long as the income requirements are met.For a condo association, it’s typical for a landlord to request a Background/Credit check prior to accepting an Offer to Lease. Applicants will then also have to pay for an additional Background/Credit Check through the Condo Association, which is typically $100 per applicant or married couple.
You’ll also need to provide a copy of government issued picture ID, i.e. driver’s license, resident visa, or passport. An application for occupancy will also be completed which asks for your current address, your current employer, personal reference contact information, and other background related questions.
Total tenant income requires a minimum of 2.5 times the monthly rent for an apartment or duplex, while 3 times the monthly rent is typical for single family homes and condos. So if the rent is $1000 per month, total income for all occupants would need to be $2500 – $3000.
Copies of paystubs for the past 2 months will generally be submitted, or copies of bank statements (other personal data can be redacted).