Expats will have access to a selection of accommodation in Miami that's as diverse as the city itself. Art Deco apartments on palm-lined streets, gentrified lofts and Mission-style housing all play their part in shaping the city’s landscape.
While it is one of the most popular destinations for buying property in the USA among expats from the UK, many new arrivals prefer renting in Miami at first to get a better sense of their new surroundings.
Factors to consider when house-hunting in Miami
The biggest point that'll guide an expat’s decisions when looking for housing in Miami is whether they're moving with a family. Miami is great for single expats, but those with families may not appreciate the sweltering party atmosphere of certain neighbourhoods.
As is the case when moving to any city, the distance to work and school, pricing and the accessibility of public transport should be primary concerns. Areas like South Beach make it convenient to commute around the city centre, although the price is a hindrance to many prospective residents.
Areas further away from the city centre usually offer larger and more affordable accommodation, but access to public transport is more restricted, often making a car a necessary purchase. Many of these areas do, however, have reputable schools, offsetting the disadvantages for expat families.
Finding accommodation in Miami
Expats who are house-hunting in the city would do well to first get to know the different areas and suburbs in Miami. Physically exploring a neighbourhood has the added advantage of seeing properties for sale or for rent that may not be listed elsewhere.
Another alternative for finding accommodation in the city is by searching online classifieds and in the property sections of local newspapers.
A less time-consuming option is hiring a real estate agent or contacting a property management company. The one downside of this is that some agents are more scrupulous than others. A good way to minimise risks is to go by word of mouth and ensure that the agent belongs to a reputable realtors' organisation.
Expats need to have an idea of what they are willing to spend, know when they want to move in and have an idea about the average price of rent in their preferred area.
Renting property in Miami
Whether they're negotiating with an individual owner, a real estate company or dealing with a condominium’s board of trustees, expats should be aware of the processes and costs attached to renting in Miami.
Renting a condo in Miami often involves more bureaucratic processes than dealing directly with an owner, and can entail extra fees for things like registration, parking spots or even owning pets. Realtors are also likely to charge agent fees.
A rental lease in Miami can be written or verbal. However, most agreements are in writing as verbal agreements can be misunderstood. The written lease can be anything from a formal contract to a simple letter stating the landlord and tenant's rights and obligations.
If a lease doesn't say what the duration of the contract is, the duration is determined by the period in which the tenant pays their rent (weekly, monthly, etc.)
New arrivals should keep in mind that they will have to give notice in writing if they want to terminate their lease.
Expats should be aware that landlords in Miami tend to charge a security deposit as well as the first and the last month’s rent, but they shouldn't be afraid to negotiate, since many landlords are willing to make some kind of concession when it comes to the security deposit.
Typically, tenants in Miami are responsible for paying their own utilities. However, they should check with their landlord whether it's their own responsibility to set these services up or not. In some cases utilities like gas and electricity will be paid for by the landlord; however, this can lead to a higher rental fee.
Garbage removal and recycling
Both the garbage removal and recycling collection schedules can be checked on the city's official website. Residents are required to put their bins outside 12 to 24 hours before the removal day.
The city has strict rules when it comes to what can and can't be recycled. Things like paper, plastic and unbroken glass can all be recycled. On the other hand, electronic waste, medical waste and batteries are non-recyclable items.