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What to expect when signing a lease in Miami

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Are you in the process of signing a lease for a new rental home? Congratulations! But before you sign on the dotted line, you must read the lease carefully and ask your landlord any questions. Signing a lease is a legally binding contract, and you don't want to end up in a situation you're uncomfortable with. In this article, we'll review some important things to expect on a lease and what questions you should ask your landlord. So, let's dive in and ensure you start your new tenancy on the right foot!


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In this article:


Who prepares the lease?

When preparing the lease agreement, the landlord, their agent, or property manager usually takes care of it. They'll draft the lease and send it to you to review and sign. In most cases, the lease will be digital and sent as a PDF for you to keep in your records.


It's important to note that while the landlord is responsible for preparing the lease, you should also be proactive in reviewing and understanding it. Review the agreement carefully, and don't hesitate to contact your landlord with any questions or concerns you may have. Remember, once you sign the lease, you're legally bound by its terms and conditions, so you must be comfortable with everything outlined in the agreement.


What should I expect on the lease?

Signing a lease is a big decision and a contractually binding agreement. It's essential to take the time to understand the lease thoroughly before signing it, as once you do, it's tough to get out of it without losing your funds. Here are some items to look for when reviewing your lease:

  1. Responsibilities of tenant and landlord: It's essential to know who is responsible for what, whether the tenant or landlord. This can include duties for maintenance, repairs, and utilities.

  2. Move-in date and prorated rent: Be sure to know your move-in date and whether your rent will be prorated if you're moving in the middle of the month.

  3. Rent and deposit requirements: Make sure the rent and deposit requirements match your expectations. If not, it may be possible to negotiate with the landlord or their agent.

  4. Rent due date and late fees: Find out when your rent is due and whether there is a grace period before a late fee is imposed. Additionally, understand the amount of the late fee.

  5. Payment methods: Understand how the landlord prefers you to make your payments, whether online, by mail, or in person.

  6. Security deposit: Know how the home will be evaluated before the security deposit is returned, including any damages that could affect the return of the deposit.

  7. Rules for maintaining the rental and ending the lease: Make sure you know the rules for maintaining the rental and how to complete the lease. Typically, you must provide written notice to terminate the lease and get your deposit back.

  8. Condo Association: If the rental is a condo, then most likely, the lease is contingent on the approval of the condo association. The lease may include information regarding the condo association approval requirement, fees, and deposits.


Types of leases

When it comes to leases, there are different types that you may encounter as a tenant. The most common types of leases are fixed-term, month-to-month, and a lease with an option to renew.


A fixed-term lease is a lease that lasts for a set period, typically six months to a year, and has a specific end date. This lease offers stability for both the landlord and tenant and provides clear expectations for rent payments and move-out dates.


On the other hand, a month-to-month lease allows for more flexibility as it can be terminated by either the tenant or landlord at any time with proper notice. This type of lease is ideal for those who may need to move on short notice or are unsure about their long-term plans.

In Florida, if a landlord hires a real estate agent to manage their rental property, the agent is only allowed to use a lease created by the Florida BAR and Florida Realtors. However, landlords may use other types of leases provided by lawyers or templates if they comply with Florida landlord and tenant laws.


Regardless of the type of lease, it's essential to carefully review the terms and conditions and ask questions if anything needs clarification. Ensure you understand the payment schedule, late fees, maintenance responsibilities, and how to terminate the lease if required. By doing so, you can ensure that you enter into a rental agreement that meets your needs and protects your rights as a tenant.



What happens after signing the lease?

Congratulations, you've signed the lease and are ready to move in! But what happens next?

Typically, the tenant must submit the first month's rent and any necessary security deposit to the landlord or a third-party escrow account. This payment will usually be due at the time of signing the lease.


After the lease is signed, the tenant may need to apply to the condo association. The association will review the application and will require additional information or documentation. Once the association approves the tenant, a walkthrough will be scheduled.


During the walkthrough, the tenant can inspect the rental property and ensure it is in good condition. Any pre-existing damage or issues should be noted, and the tenant should receive their keys now.


It's important to note that what happens after signing the lease can vary depending on the rental property and landlord. Be sure to read and understand the terms of your lease and ask any questions you may have. This will help ensure a smooth move-in process and a positive relationship with your landlord.


Conclusion

In conclusion, before signing a lease for a new rental home in Florida, reviewing the lease and understanding its terms and conditions carefully is important. Most items in the lease agreement are negotiable, so it's essential to ask questions and clarify any doubts with the landlord or their agent. Additionally, knowing the rules and regulations about maintaining the rental property and ending the lease is crucial, as failing to comply with these rules can result in losing your security deposit. By following these guidelines, you can start your tenant/landlord relationship on a positive note and enjoy a stress-free rental experience.

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