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  1. #1
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Default Best Landlords in South Beach...and what about Lauderdale?

    Hi everybody,

    My move has been postponed a slight bit, but I will be arriving just after Memorial Day weekend (on purpose!) and renting a room at the Dania Beach Motel 6 for a week while I scout out apartments. I've made my reservations, and given my notice, so I'm definitely taking the plunge!

    I know you mentioned that a few of the South Beach landlords/agencies are bad about not returning security deposits. It seems to be a fairly common practice. I was just reading some really bad reviews about a certain building on <ahem> Pine Tree Drive. Anyway, I was wondering if any of you had any names/numbers of owners/landlords who are especially nice to deal with -- who keep their buildings up, return deposits, are prompt repairing things, etc. I'll be looking between Alton Road and Washington, between Fifth and 23rd -- at smaller, less expensive buildings. So if you know some really great landlords (and their numbers) you could recommend, that would be wonderful. The risk of losing last month's rent AND the security deposit is really scary!

    On a completely unrelated subject, I've read about the gay flight from South Beach to Fort Lauderdale. Lauderdale is tempting because rents are a little cheaper there, people are a little less...abrupt, and the density is lower. But something about it seems kind of....bland and sprawly. Is Lauderdale a viable alternative? Or is it like going from Venice Beach to Burbank? Because I'm almost persuaded to include it in my search...What makes it special -- or not so special? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Administrator Michelle's Avatar
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    Hi Freespirit. Welcome! I think Gus may have a stopry to tell about arriving in town and staying at the same Motel 6 :)

    I can't give you any names and numbers of especially great landlords that give back the deposit and keep up the building.

    However, I can give a brief answer about Lauderdale. Don't do it; it is bland. It 's just not what you should experience coming to South Florida. If that's a decision you decide on later, you will already know what you are getting into. I HIGHLY recommend sticking to South Beach. Of all the years I have been living here, I never wanted to move to Ft. Lauderdale and I'm pretty sure I never will. It's also not a place we visit often - just no reason to when you live in Miami. I bet if you moved to Ft. Lauderdale, you would want to visit Miami all the time. Save your gas; live where the action is. Hope this helps with your decision making!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Thanks, Michelle! You confirmed my gut feeling. I've spent a little time traversing around Las Olas and the Riverwalk, and it had that generic, uniform quality to it that made it scarcely distinguishable from Glendale, California, and many other sprawly cities, the exceptions being its waterways filled with yachts, and the abundant tropical foliage. But then, the cheaper rents, the slightly less jaded populace, lower density, and the volume of people flocking up there from Miami made me scratch my head!

    New Orleans, my hometown, and South Beach share a unique sense of style, creativity, and an art to the architecture, cuisine and music. I think I would come to miss that rather quickly in a more cookie-cutter community.

    I'll be at the Motel 6 because I have kitties, and that's the best value around I could find for lodging that accepts pets. It's also fun to watch the raccoons raiding the dumpsters out back! But after that, I think you're right. It's South Beach for me!

    I've contacted Columbia and Regatta so far by email. No one has responded yet. I'll also check around once I get down there. Thanks again for your advice!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    One other quick question....I talked with a landlord who has a vacancy coming up at the end of May: a one bedroom for $1000, plus last month's rent and 1/2 month security to move in, 2nd (top) floor, with central air. I met him when I was visiting last February and saw the building. It's in the 700 block of Michigan Avenue. There seemed to be lots of available street parking, less congestion, and an alleyway in the back where you might drop off some groceries without having to lug them around for blocks on end. I'm into walking, so it doesn't really bother me that it's a bit of a hike to Lincoln Road and the center of the action. I also like the idea of not dealing with a middle man...

    An agent at Columbia Asset Management also tells me they have a building -- the Lincoln Plaza -- coming up in the middle of May. It's a one bedroom for only $950, 2nd (middle) floor, but requires two months of security to move in, in addition to a $50 application fee and an unspecified refundable pet deposit. It's right in the middle of everything, which may be more of an aggravation in the longterm, with parking and general mayhem. But it's closer to everything...

    Which area would you recommend for the most stress free Sobe experience?

  5. #5
    Gus
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    Anyway, I was wondering if any of you had any names/numbers of owners/landlords who are especially nice to deal with—who keep their buildings up, return deposits, are prompt repairing things, etc.
    I'd steer clear of any apartments that are managed by Chrisken, they are notorious for keeping their tenant's security deposit.

    From my experience, the best landlords are the ones that own 1 or 2 buildings.

    When you speak with the landlord, ask them how often they keep deposits, and what you can do to insure that your deposit is returned to you. If they don't give you a straight answer, keep looking.

    Don't be afraid to interview them. Tenants with a good rental history are in demand.

    This is a good time to be renting. There's a lot of availability on the market.

    The apartment on Michigan sounds nice.

    Which area would you recommend for the most stress free Sobe experience?
    South Beach is a pretty small area. A stress free experience has more to do with the building and your neighboors.

    My best recommendation for living in South Beach is make sure you have a decent bicycle with a good bike lock.

    A cool pair of shades will come in handy too. :coolsmile:

  6. #6
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Thanks, Gus. I get a much better vibe from the landlord with the place in the 700 block of Michigan. Property management companies in general seem like wheeler-dealers. I'm going to drive down to SoBe and meet with the landlord around May 10, then drive back, and come down again at the end of May with my stuff. If this goes according to plan, I won't even need to go to the Dania Beach Motel 6!

    I appreciate your help!

  7. #7
    Gus
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    I&#39;m going to drive down to SoBe and meet with the landlord around May 10, then drive back, and come down again at the end of May with my stuff
    That's a pretty long drive. Would you like me to take some pictures of the building for you? If so, private message me the address (we don't want anyone swiping the apartment form you).

    Perhaps we can save you a trip.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Hi Gus,

    That's very kind of you to offer to do that! I've actually already seen and toured the building, though, oddly enough! I almost moved to South Beach back in 2003, and while down there went walking around and came upon this building. There was a nice older Cuban lady named Juana managing the place at the time. She didn't speak any English, but we had a great conversation in Spanish, and she was really nice. She had a little dog and a cute parrot. Life had other plans for me, though, and I ended up having to put off the move until May of this year; I have a lease here that is just running out. Anyway, when I was down in South Beach for a visit in February, knowing that I would be looking for an apartment there in a few months, I checked out this building again. Sure enough, there was a for rent sign out front. Juana was gone (to manage another building up the street somewhere), but the owner was there fixing up a couple of vacant units. I told him I would be looking in a few months, and he gave me his number. I called him the other day, and he said he would have a vacancy coming up on June 1. So it was kind of like this funky serendipity at work! I would try to get a friend or someone to tour the unit for me, but I think the landlord probably wants to see me in person again to refresh his memory of who I was. But maybe I will try asking if we could just do it all over the phone and I could put up a deposit with my credit card. I have seen the building before, and know what it looks like already, after all. I guess it couldn't hurt to ask! Are there a lot of people that rent apartments down there without making the arrangements in person? This landlord said he'd been owning this and a couple of other buildings for the last 30 years, so I think he's kind of old school!

  9. #9
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Freespirit, I will PM you with some information!

    In the meantime, PLEASE call my friend Joe at Empire Properties. He is not only a super nice guy and old friend of mine, but also a fantastic landlord (305) 531-9563. He told me he has two units now and one coming soon. It's just an individual who rents out units ... no huge corporation or anything.

    Joe and his brother are Miami Beach raised and own a successful plumbing company. They worked hard for their success and are very humble, nice people. I wish Joe was my landlord, but it never quite worked out that there was an apt available when I needed to move!

    There's a certain convenience about renting at proper "rental" buildings (ie, Mirador) but do keep in mind you are dealing with a company and not a individual. I personally feel that's too Big Brother and a bit icky for me. Plus, they can easily raise your rent each year and there's no haggling! I would much rather rent from a private landlord than a company.

    Have you considered only South Beach? There is a nice apt for rent in my building. I will PM you with more information.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    okay. I'll keep an eye out....

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