A collection of resources for tenants.
Rental Search Guide
In our current market, properties are renting fast and we want to provide you the best information for finding the perfect rental for your needs. Here are our tips and tricks for finding the best rental:
Searching for Rentals
There are several major websites that are great for searching for rental properties. On most of the sites, you can find the contact information directly to the agent or owner. Here are our top recommendations for searching rentals:
- Zillow.com: This website allows agents and owners to post rental listings. It allows you to find the owner or agent directly and schedule showings for the property.
- Realtor.com: This website has the most reliable data for listings, but it only has listings from Realtors that put them in MLS. Owners cannot list into the MLS so their rentals do not show on this site.
- Apartments.com: This website has rental listings for all the major apartment complexes and does not have rental information for individually owned condos or homes.
- Others: There are so many websites that allow searching for rentals, but most of them pull their data from MLS like Realtor.com. If you start searching other websites, you will probably be looking at many of the same listings that you already saw on the other sites mentioned above.
Setting up Showings
Every rental property has a different agent or owner that has access to show the property and know the application requirements to live at the property. For this reason, the quickest and most efficient way to see rental properties is by contacting the owner or agent directly for each rental.
Every owner will have different application requirements for income, credit scores, pets, and more. If you have circumstances that may not qualify you for a specific rental, discuss them with the owner or agent upfront, before you view the property or pay for an application fee. Alternatively, if you have strengths about your application, don’t hesitate to share them.
US law provides protections for all renters. An agent or apartment complex may not discriminate against you based on your race, religion, national origin, color, disability, and familial status. Familial status includes the number of children you have, marital status, and more. Certain states, counties, and cities have additional protections for age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and more. Unfortunately, an owner that owns only a few properties does have the ability to discriminate legally, but agents and apartment complexes may never discriminate.
Beware of Scams
If you are working with someone who is actually a real estate agent, it’s less likely you are going to become the victim of a scam. When dealing directly with owners, be cautious about requests for digital transfers of money or requests for other confidential information. Never send money or file an application before seeing the property in person.
Read Your Lease
Not all leases are created equal. Review your lease in detail before signing. Realize that owners might be agreeable to minor changes, but agents are not able to change leases without the involvement of an attorney, but still, their company may prohibit changes. Understand your requirements of the lease, including any possible requirements on giving notice before the lease expires. Mark your calendar with future dates, if applicable.
It’s important to properly maintain your rental in order to get your full deposit returned when you move out. While you should rely on your owner’s directions for maintenance, we have compiled general information on maintenance guidelines and mold and mildew prevention for your use as well.
Landlord Tenant Law
Florida’s Landlord-Tenant law is pretty easy to understand and are an excellent resource for tenants. Although a lease can apply more restrictions than the law, the lease may never contradict the law. View the law here.
The landlords will only have insurance to replace the building in the event of a disaster. You must obtain a renter’s insurance policy in order to protect your belongings from disaster or theft.
Renting is a great option for many people, but purchasing is a better long-term investment for your future. If you have considered purchasing now, or want to plan for purchasing in the future, contact Mainframe Real Estate to discuss your options of planning by emailing info@MainframeRE.com.
Mainframe Real Estate has access to rent-to-own properties. With our help, we can find a property that is for sale and have an investor purchase it on your behalf. Then you can rent that property with an option to purchase. Ask us for details by emailing info@MainframeRE.com.
Still have questions? We want to provide you the answers you need to successfully find a rental. Email us at info@MainframeRE.com with additional questions.
General Maintenance Guidelines
While living in your rental, or before requesting maintenance, please consider these guidelines for maintaining the property and troubleshooting maintenance issues. Per the lease, Tenants will be charged for service calls resulting from the misuse or failure to check these items.
Tenant should check all switches, controls, circuit breakers and reset buttons before calling to report a malfunction. Check breakers first if electrical items or A/C in your home do not turn on. It may be necessary to check the outside breaker above the A/C unit if the unit outside is not running. If you find an outlet not working, please check all GFI’s to see if they have tripped and then reset the GFI. Most GFI’s are located in the kitchen, bathrooms or garage. You should try light switches to see if they operate the outlet.
If you do not have any hot water, or only warm water, first check the circuit breaker to see if it has been tripped. Turn the breaker off, then on and wait approximately 30 minutes and check to see if you have hot water. You should also check the upper panel on the water heater itself, provided the circuit breaker was not tripped. You will need to unscrew the two screws holding the panel in place and check to see if the breaker/switch inside has tripped. Do not adjust the temperature of the water to prevent scolding current or future residents. The recommended temperature is 120 degrees or less.
It is the responsibility of the Tenant to change air conditioning filters monthly.
If the air conditioning does not work, try troubleshooting the thermostat. Do not leave the system ‘on’ if there is a malfunction, as it may cause further damage.
The condensate drain line should be cleaned to prevent clogging, which causes water damage. The drain line can be cleaned by putting a cup of bleach or vinegar down the drain line every 3 months. Some systems contain a ‘float switch’, which will turn the AC system off once the condensate line is backed up. Clearing the condensate drain line will fix this problem.
Tenant must keep all plumbing fixtures clean, sanitary and in good working order. Tenant is responsible for drain stoppages not attributable to plumbing defects, such as tree roots, defective septic systems, etc. The Tenant should never allow grease, sanitary napkins, etc. to enter the plumbing system. If the Premises has an open (raised) foundation with exposed pipes, Tenant must leave faucets running slowly overnight if a hard freeze is forecast.
A septic system is used for draining waste when public sewer is not available for a property. A septic system exists on a property and sewage flows into this system and then waste water disburses into the ground through a drain field. Tenant shall use the following precautions in order to prevent damage to the system and ensure proper functionality. 1) Use less water to avoid overloading the system 2) Keep vehicles off the drainfield and tank areas 3) Do not use a garbage disposal 4) Don’t flush solids waste except for toilet paper 5) Don’t pour chemicals down the drain as they will seep into the ground.
Tenant is responsible for replacing light bulbs, if necessary. If assistance is required in changing light bulbs, please contact Landlord. If tenant believes a light fixture is not working, Tenant should swap out bulbs to double check prior to making a maintenance request.
Tenants are responsible for interior pest control. This is to ensure that residents, children, or pets do not have adverse reactions to chemicals. For exterior pest control issues, please file a maintenance request.
Tenants must remove garbage from the Premises in a sanitary manner.
Tenant understands that foreign items should not be placed in the disposal. The reset button under the bottom of the disposal should be pressed if it will not activate. If it is determined the unit is inoperative due to foreign objects, Tenant will be expected to pay for the repair or replacement. Always remember to run water when using the disposal. The following items should not be placed in the garbage disposal: coffee grinds, bones of any kind, hair, utensils, straws, egg shells, potato peels, grease, cucumber peelings, apple peelings and any other item that will damage the blades.
There is a drain pan under most refrigerators, which must be emptied occasionally to avoid water damage to the kitchen floor. Keeping the door closed is important for maintaining the proper temperature.
SMOKE DETECTORS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
Tenant agrees that it is their duty to regularly test the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) and agree to notify Owner or Broker immediately in writing of any problem, defect, malfunction or failure of the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s). Tenant agrees that they shall immediately test the smoke detector and shall maintain same. Owner shall repair or replace the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s), assuming the availability of labor and materials in the event we notify Owner or Broker of any defect in writing. Tenant agrees to replace the smoke detector(s) battery, if any, at any time the existing battery becomes unserviceable. Tenant agrees to reimburse Owner or Broker upon request, for the cost of a new smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) and the installation thereof in the event the existing smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) becomes damaged by me, my guests or invitees. Tenant acknowledges and agrees that Owner or Broker is not the operator, manufacturer, distributor, retailer or supplier of the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s). Tenant assumes full and complete responsibility for all risk and hazards attributable to, connected with or in any way related to the operation, malfunction or failure of the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s), regardless of whether such malfunction or failure is attributable to connected with, or in any way related to the use, operation, manufacture distribution, repair, servicing or installation of said smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s). No representation, warranties, undertakings or promises, whether oral or implied, or otherwise, have been made by Owner, its agents or employees to me regarding said smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s), or the alleged performance of the same, Owner or Broker neither makes nor adopts any warranty of any nature regarding said smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) and expressly disclaims all warranties of fitness for a particular purpose, of habitability, or any and all other expressed or implied property caused by (1) My failure to regularly test the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) or (2) My failure to notify Owner or Broker of any problem, defect, malfunction, or failure of the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) or (3) Theft of the smoke detector(s) and/or fire extinguisher(s) or its serviceable battery; and/or (4) false alarms produced by the smoke detector(s). Tenant indemnifies and holds Landlord harmless for any losses and/or injuries caused by Tenant’s breach of this paragraph.
Tenant shall not engage in any wiring work on the inside or outside of the building without written permission from the Landlord. This includes cable TV, satellite TV, telephone, security alarms, etc.
WINDOWS AND SCREENS
Any broken glass, torn or bent screens are the responsibility of the Tenant.
PORCHES, PATIOS, DRIVEWAYS
Porches and patios should be kept clean and free of clutter and debris. Driveways should not be exposed to oil leaks or other automotive fluids. Oil/automotive stains are costly and difficult to remove. Tenant may be charged for such stains at time of move-out. If the Premises is located in a community governed by a homeowner’s association, Tenant is responsible for complying with all rules governing these items.
Burglar and fire alarms are provided “as is”. Landlord and Broker are not responsible for providing a working system. If the Premises features an alarm system, it is the responsibility of Owner Tenant to provide a working system. If Landlord assumes responsibility, Owner will pay for the monitoring service and provide a working code. If Tenant assumes responsibility, Tenant will pay for monitoring service and will be required to obtain a working code.
Countertops and Appliance Care: Tenant has been informed that the flooring, counters, and appliances in the Premises may require special care and agrees to adhere to the maintenance and care instructions provided below. Tenant has been informed that if he/she has questions regarding cleaning or maintaining the items, he/she should contact Landlord immediately.
Shrinkage or warping may occur with hardwood flooring, especially around heat vents, or heat producing appliances. If the floors become wet repeatedly (i.e. tracking in wet shoes), or are soaked, warping will occur. Vacuum cleaners, pet claws and moving heavy furniture can cause scratching. Dropping heavy objects can cause dimples, as can certain types of high heeled shoes. Tenant understands that he/she is responsible for the care and maintenance of the hardwood floors. Tenant understands that cleaners are not be used on floors. To remove dust and debris, Tenant agrees to use only warm water on a damp cloth or mop head. Tenant further agrees not to move furniture or appliances across the floors and to use either rubber feet or felt pads underneath furniture to prevent scratches and indentations.
POROUS STONE COUNTERTOPS AND FLOORING
Granite, marble, limestone and slate are porous stones, which means they absorb liquid. When liquid is absorbed, it can damage the stone. Most household cleaners containing acids, vinegars or other cleaning agents will damage the stone and the sealer applied. Porous stone can also be damaged by acidic, food and liquid spills, as well as scouring powders, powdered or granulated cleaners, and creams which contain abrasives that can scratch the surface. Routine care and sealing the stone with a protectant every six months to a year will protect the stone, however, sealing alone will not suffice. A stone cleaner must be used for cleaning. It can be purchased at most grocery and hardware stores. To minimize scratches and wear patterns, Tenant should keep stone free of dust, sandy soil, and dust or sweep all natural stone surfaces often. To maintain the stone’s luster, a stone polisher should be used. To restore the sealant after a spill, a stone polisher with a restoring agent should be used. To minimize water spotting, a good quality marble wax, which is also available at most hardware stores, should be used.
Removing food and liquid spills. Blot food and liquid spills away with a clean, dry cloth turning regularly. Do not wipe across the surface. Clean with a stone cleaner and follow up with a polisher/restorer if the spill occurs on a countertop.
Removing Stains. Stains that are oily in nature (salad dressings, lotions, etc.) can be removed from the stone using a poultice. However, a stone restoration professional should be consulted prior to using. If there is an oily stain, Tenant agrees to contact Landlord before using poultice.
Maintenance Procedures for Stone Counters and Floors. To maintain the beauty of the stone, Tenant agrees to:
- Use coasters under glasses
- Use mats or trivets under hot and cold dishware
- Blot up spills immediately to minimize permanent damage
- Clean surfaces with stone soap or mild dishwashing detergent
- Dust mop stone floors frequently to protect with non-slip mats or area rugs
- Thoroughly rinse dry flooring surfaces after washing or use a stone soap requiring no rinse
- Avoid using bleach, ammonia, household cleaners (including Windex) that contain acid, such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners; alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone or abrasive dry cleaners
STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES AND GLASS TOP RANGES
Tenant agrees to use warm soap and water and/or a stainless steel polisher/cleaner to clean appliances. For Glass Top Ranges, Tenant understands that Brillo-style and woolen soap pads may not be used. To clean, Tenant should purchase specially formulated pads for glass ranges, as well as glass range cleaner. The cleaners mentioned in this paragraph can be purchased at most grocery and hardware stores. Tenant understands that applying extreme pressure anywhere on the appliances will cause indentations, which will be considered as damage.
If applicable, when using a fireplace(s) in the Premises Tenant shall obey the following rules:
- Always make sure to open the damper and/or flue before starting the fire and keep it open until the ashes have completely cooled.
- Close the fireplace screen or door when the fireplace is in use to keep sparks from flying out.
- If smoke is coming out of the front of the fireplace, put out the fire immediately, ventilate the house and call for help before starting another fire.
- Do not store anything flammable, including paper and kindling, within three feet of the fireplace while it is in use.
- Burn only dry seasoned hard woods. Do not use green woods, treated lumber, painted woods, scrap paper, gift wrapping paper, or old Christmas trees. Loose paper could fly off and ignite the roof! Gift wrapping paper may give off toxic fumes! Do not use soft woods in fireplaces, such as pine, fir, and redwood because they cause a coating in the flue which can cause fires. Use woods such as oak, almond, walnut, etc.
- Never use combustible liquids such as kerosene, turpentine, lighter fluid, or gasoline to start or accelerate the fire.
- Do not overfill the fireplace and try to create a blazing or roaring fire. A roaring fire may ignite the creosote which is often part of the fireplace walls. This is a toxic chemical and may be flammable if super-heated.
- Never leave fire unattended.
- Do not dispose of burnt logs or ashes until they cool completely. Dispose of cooled ashes in a metal container. Usually you can re-burn logs. If you must dispose of a log, wait until it is completely cool, then douse it with water and place it outside away from combustible materials.
- Notify Landlord immediately of any problems with the fireplace, such as smoke backing into the room or the flue not working properly.
Tenant agrees to hold harmless and release Landlord from all liability for loss or damage based on Tenant’s negligence or misuse of Fireplace(s).
Mold + Mildew Prevention
Mold is a fuzzy growth of minute fungus occurring typically in moist warm conditions, especially on food or other organic matter. Mold spore can become airborn which can have a negative effect on human health.
- Regularly clean and use household cleaners on surfaces in the bathroom(s) and kitchen, and particularly in the shower or bathtub, and promptly clean any noticed discoloration or mildew in any area of the Premises.
- Regularly clean, dust, vacuum and mop the Premises, remove garbage from the Premises and to regularly replace air filters, and to open blinds and/or curtains regularly to allow light into the Premises.
- Use hood vents/ventilation (if provided) when cooking, cleaning and dishwashing.
- Wipe off and dry surfaces in the kitchen that have accumulated moisture or condensation while cooking or dishwashing.
- Wipe down and dry any spillage of liquid.
- Regularly clean dishes and sinks in the kitchen and not let them remain soiled or dirty for a period in excess of 36 hours; immediately remove any moldy or rotting food from the Premises.
- Use exhaust fans, ventilators and/or dehumidifiers (if necessary) when showering, bathing, or otherwise; wipe down and dry all bathroom surfaces after their use to prevent moisture from accumulating on surfaces, and to leave bathroom doors, shower curtains, and shower doors open after bathing.
- Securely close shower doors, or to hang shower curtains or liners on the inside of bathtubs so as to prevent water from spilling out of the bathtub when showering, as applicable.
- Not to water any household plants inside the Premises or to accumulate excessive indoor plants.
- Promptly notify the Landlord of any overflow of the air conditioning unit’s drip pan or any accumulated moisture on or around the air conditioning unit.
- Use clothes dryer to dry clothes.
- Inspect for leaks under sinks.
- Regularly empty dehumidifier if used.
- Do not dry clothes by hang-drying indoors.