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Renting an Apartment: Private Landlord vs. Rental Community - Pros and Cons

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Are you considering renting an apartment but unsure whether to go with a rental community or a private landlord? This decision can significantly impact your renting experience, so weighing the pros and cons of each option is essential. While private landlords offer flexibility and the potential for negotiating rent prices, rental communities provide convenience and a faster application process. Additionally, there are differences in fees and responsibilities that come with each option.

In this article, we'll explore the key differences between renting with a private landlord or rental community and provide the information you need to decide your next rental home.

Photo of condo buildings and rental communities in Brickell

Article Outline:

Private Landlords: Pros and Cons

Private landlords are individuals, couples, or business partners who privately own a condo and rent it out. In Miami, most apartments are owned and offered by private landlords. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  1. Negotiate Rent Prices: One of the advantages of renting from a private landlord is that you can negotiate the rent price, which can be beneficial if you're on a tight budget.

  2. Included Amenities: Private landlords may consist of things in rent such as parking, water, trash, amenities, and sometimes basic cable/internet, making it more convenient for tenants.

  3. More Flexibility: Private landlords may be more flexible with lease agreements and other terms, allowing you to customize your rental experience.


  1. Slower Process: Private landlords may have a slower process than rental communities, which can be a disadvantage if you're hurrying to move in.

  2. Condo Associations: When renting a condo from a private landlord, consider condo associations. Condo associations typically carry a mortgage and pay a condo association fee, which can increase the cost of renting.

  3. Higher Upfront Costs: Private landlords may require a higher upfront cost, including security deposits and other fees.

Condo Associations: Application Process

When renting a condo from a private landlord, you must go through the condo association's application process. Here's what to expect:

  1. Submitting an Offer: You must first submit an offer, application, and paperwork to the landlord.

  2. Condo Association Application: After the landlord accepts your offer, you have to submit an application to the association and pay additional fees.

  3. Additional Fees: These fees can include application fees, move-in/move-out deposits or fees, elevator deposits or fees, and security deposits.

  4. Process time: Many associations have yet to adapt to modern technology. You may need to submit a paper application and deliver it in person. And it may take anywhere from 1 week to 4 weeks to approve or deny you, which can be nerve-racking and not ideal if you are in a rush.

Rental Communities: Pros and Cons

Rental communities are buildings owned by a company for rental uses only. Here are some pros and cons to consider:


  1. More straightforward application process: The application process for rental communities is typically more accessible and faster than private landlords, with online tools available to help streamline the process.

  2. Move-in specials: Rental communities may offer move-in specials or other incentives to attract tenants, saving you money.

  3. Lower upfront costs: Rental communities have lower upfront costs, often based on your credit score, making it more accessible for tenants.


  1. Monthly Fees: Rental communities may have more monthly fees, such as amenity fees and parking, and may not include utilities, such as trash or water, which can add up quickly.

  2. Fixed Rent Prices: Unlike private landlords, rental communities are not flexible on pricing, which can be a disadvantage if you're trying to negotiate your rent.

  3. Lack of Flexibility: Rental communities may not be as flexible as private landlords with lease agreements and other terms, making it less customizable for tenants.

Rental Community's application process

The application process for rental communities is generally faster and more streamlined than for condos rented out by private landlords. Once you find a rental community you're interested in, you'll typically be asked to fill out an application, which is usually digital, and provide various documents, such as proof of income and references. Some rental communities may also require a credit check.

Once your application is submitted, the management team will review it and reply within a few business days. You'll be asked to sign a lease agreement and pay a security deposit if your application is approved.

Overall, the application process for rental communities is often quicker and easier than for condos rented out by private landlords. It is a popular option for renters who need to move quickly or want a more straightforward renting process.

Lease Terms: Private Landlords vs. Rental Communities

Lease terms are essential to renting an apartment, as they determine how long you will stay in the unit and how much you will be paying for rent. In Miami, there are some differences between private landlords and rental communities regarding lease terms.

Private landlords often work with real estate agents and may offer leases for up to a year. Some landlords prefer to do yearly leases to analyze the rental market every year for increases.

On the other hand, rental communities may offer different lease terms, ranging from 6 months to 18 months. Generally, the longer you commit to a lease, the better the rental rate will be. So, it's essential to consider lease terms when deciding between a private landlord and a rental community.


In summary, there are pros and cons to both renting from a private landlord and a rental community. It's essential to consider your individual needs and preferences before deciding. Factors such as flexibility, price, and convenience affect your decision-making process. Ultimately, the goal is to find the option that best meets your needs and budget while providing a comfortable and enjoyable living experience.


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