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Renting a Condo in Miami: Understanding the Role of Condo Associations

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Renting a condo in Miami has pros and cons compared to renting in an apartment building or rental community. The process can become complicated if the condo is part of a condo association. A condo association is a group of unit owners in a condominium building responsible for maintaining and repairing common areas and enforcing rules and regulations. The association also has the final say on whether a tenant is approved or denied for a rental property. If you are looking to rent a condo in Miami that is part of a condo association, there are a few things you need to know. This article will discuss condo associations' role in renting a condo in Miami, the application process, typical fees, and reasons for denial.


Photo of condos in Brickell, taken by Anthony Johnson

In this article:


What is a Condo Association?

A condo association is a governing body managing a condominium complex or building. The association is typically made up of elected board members who make decisions on behalf of the residents. The board members work to ensure the smooth operation of the building and maintain its infrastructure, amenities, and common areas.

The condo association also hires a property management company that handles the property's day-to-day operations. This includes taking tenant and buyer applications. The property management company intermediates between the condo association and the tenants.


It is important to note that the rules and regulations of the condo association are binding for all residents, including tenants. The rules and regulations may cover a wide range of topics, such as noise levels, parking, pet policies, and the use of common areas. Tenants must comply with these rules to avoid disputes or issues with the condo association.


Submitting a rental application to the association

Applying the association can be straightforward, or it can be complex, depending on the property manager. In Miami, some property management companies hired by condo associations offer digital applications, while some do not and require tenants to drop off applications in person. The process may differ from building to building.


The application process is the tenant's responsibility, even if you've hired a real estate agent. You must fill out the application correctly and submit it with supporting documents. Here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Obtain the Application: The first step is to obtain the application, which is best if you get it directly from the property management company. Landlords or agents may have an outdated application, so be sure to contact the property management company for the most up-to-date application.

  2. Complete the Application: Whether digital or paper, complete it wholly and legibly. Read the instructions and be sure you get all the documents and payments needed to apply.

  3. Submit Supporting Documents: You must submit documents such as the lease agreement, bank statements, a police report, a credit report, and a photocopy of your ID. Be sure to provide all necessary documents to avoid delays in processing your application.

  4. Submit the Application: If necessary, apply with all supporting documents, fees, and deposits. The application process varies from building to building; some may require an additional security deposit to be made out to the association.

  5. Wait for Approval: The application process can take several days or weeks. Some buildings can issue approval in a few days, while others can take up to four weeks. Be patient, and feel free to follow up with the property management company if you have not heard back after a week or two.

Some buildings may require an interview before giving the final approval. When the association provides the final approval, the tenant will receive an approval letter and should provide this to their agent or the landlord.


What if I'm not approved before the lease starts?

Tenants can only move into a unit after the condo association approves them. Tenants seeking an apartment in Miami must give themselves ample time to be approved when looking for a condo to rent in Miami, and it's important to get the application in as soon as possible to avoid delays.

If the tenant is not approved by the time the lease agreement starts, the lease agreement start date will need to be changed to a date after the association approves the tenant. This can be frustrating and may require the tenant to make alternate arrangements until approved.

Some buildings may offer an expedited service for an additional cost. This service can expedite the approval process but can also be expensive. Suppose time is of the essence, and the tenant is willing to pay the additional cost. In that case, exploring this option with the property management company is worth exploring.


Reasons why associations may decline a tenant's application

The application process involves thoroughly reviewing the tenant's background and financial history to determine if they are a suitable candidate for tenancy.


While each association may have its specific requirements, there are some common reasons why a tenant's application may be declined:

  1. Poor Credit History: One of the most common reasons tenants are declined is poor credit history. Associations may review the tenant's credit score and credit history to determine if they are financially responsible. A tenant's history of missed payments or outstanding debts may raise concerns for the association.

  2. Criminal History: Associations may also review a tenant's criminal history to ensure that they do not pose a safety risk to other tenants in the building. If a tenant has a history of violent or criminal behavior, this may be cause for the association to decline their application.

  3. Insufficient Income: Associations may review tenants' income to determine if they can afford rent and other associated costs. If a tenant's income is not sufficient to cover rent and other expenses, this may be cause for the association to decline their application.

  4. Poor Rental History: Associations may also review a tenant's rental history to determine if they have a history of evictions or other rental-related issues. If a tenant has a poor rental history, this may raise concerns for the association.

  5. Incomplete Application: Lastly, if a tenant submits an incomplete application or fails to provide all the required documentation, this may cause the association to decline their application.

When applying, being upfront and honest about their background and financial history is essential. If you are denied, whatever the reason for rejecting the tenant, the association must be prepared to explain. Miami-Dade County Ordinance Section 11A-18.1(b) requires that the association must: (i) provide notice within 45 days of any tenant application rejection and (ii) state, with specificity, the reason for the rejection.


Conclusion

In conclusion, renting a condo in Miami can be a complex process that involves several parties, including the tenant, the landlord, the real estate agent, and most importantly, the condo association. Condo associations play a critical role in the rental process, as they evaluate rental applications and decide whether a tenant is approved or denied. Tenants need to understand the role of condo associations and follow the application process carefully to increase their chances of approval.

Remember that condo associations have the ultimate decision on whether or not a tenant can move into a condo, so it's crucial to approach the rental process with patience and care. By following the tips and insights outlined in this article, tenants can navigate the condo rental process in Miami with greater ease and confidence.

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