Prospective residents looking to settle down in the Cigar City will be pleased to know that Tampa has a wide range of housing options with something to suit just about every taste and budget. Most newcomers tend to rent initially while they find their feet and get a feel for the city and its neighbourhoods, before settling on a more permanent situation. The renting process is fairly standard and in line with what one would expect in most major US cities.
Those who decide to buy property in Tampa further down the line will find it has great investment potential. Not only is the city's property market robust but the city continues to attract more and more people every year, which in turn increases the demand for rental property.
Types of accommodation
The standard of accommodation in Tampa is generally good. Most buildings are well-maintained and property sizes are generous. New arrivals searching for their new home will have a range of options to choose from, including apartments, condos, duplexes and larger family houses.
Modern self-contained apartments within a larger building can be found in most parts of Tampa. They tend to be fairly well priced and are a particularly popular choice among those living in downtown Tampa where space is limited.
Condos are a middle ground between houses and apartments. The major benefit of condo living, especially for newcomers to the city, is more space and the benefits of communal living. Condos are self-contained units within a bigger complex where residents share a range of amenities including communal swimming pools, gyms, gardens and laundry facilities. While it depends on the complex itself, condos are a great option for those new to the city as it allows them to make new friends in their local residential area.
Over half of Tampa residents live in houses, so newcomers looking for a more spacious pad in Tampa will find an impressive array of options. From humble craftsman-style bungalows to grand colonial revival mansions, there are properties to suit a range of tastes and budgets. There is also a continuous stream of new-built properties springing up to meet the demands of Tampa’s rapidly increasing residential population.
Finding accommodation in Tampa
Prospective residents should start their hunt for a home in Tampa well before they even start to plan the physical relocation. Demand for property is high in Tampa and it is not always easy to secure a suitable property.
The best place to do some research would be on reputable online property portals. These allow those unfamiliar with the city to get an idea of the different property types available in various areas and suburbs and prices.
Real estate agents are another great source of information. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of Tampa’s property market and are well placed to advise new arrivals about the type of property and suitable areas.
Renting accommodation in Tampa
With more and more people seeing value in the lifestyle and career benefits that come from relocating to Tampa, the demand for property is pretty high. As a result, new arrivals need to act quickly to secure rentals in sought-after parts of the city.
Making an application
Once prospective tenants have found a suitable home, they’ll need to express their interest either to the agent or the landlord directly. Credit and reference checks are always required and only once these have been verified, the tenant and landlord can go ahead and sign the lease. Expats moving to Tampa from outside the US should open a US bank account and have a social security number set up before applying for a rental property as this will likely speed up the process of securing a rental contract.
Rental contracts in Tampa are usually valid for a year with the option to renew at the end of the initial term. At the discretion of the landlord, it may be possible to request a shorter lease. For tenants who want to negotiate any aspect of their lease, it is better to do so outside peak holiday season when there isn't as much demand for holiday rentals.
Prospective tenants should invest time studying the terms of their lease agreements to determine which utilities are included. In most cases, the landlord covers standard utilities such as water and electricity but optional extras such as internet, cable TV and landline telephone services are usually for the tenant's personal account.
Anyone looking to rent in Tampa will be required to put down a security deposit to secure the lease on a property. These rental deposits are fully refundable once the lease terminates, provided that the property is left in an acceptable state. For this reason, it is important to carry out a detailed inventory at both the beginning and end of the rental term, as damages will be deducted from the deposit. Florida state law places no limit on how much a landlord can ask for a security deposit, but most landlords will ask for the equivalent of one month's rent. State law does, however, stipulate that the deposit minus any legitimate deductions have to be returned to the tenant within a month of them vacating the property.