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South Florida's Sky-High Rent Is Squeezing Longtime Locals Looking For An Affordable Place

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Finding rent in South Florida has been tough for many longtime residents and natives.

When Sadiq Malik of Miami Lake learned his rent would be going up, he wasn't prepared.

"We noticed on the agreement it was going to be 100-something dollars more a month," said Malik.

While he said that normally wouldn't be a problem, his wife was recently laid off from her medical recordkeeping job due to COVID-19 pandemic effects.

The couple decided to move out and look elsewhere, but elsewhere wasn't much better.

"We just didn't budget for that," said Malik. "We didn't realize what a problem the renting situation was going to be as far as pricing."

Not only was pricing an issue, even finding an apartment or condo has been impossible for many.

"We would find out like, 'Hey listen someone's offering us 4-5 months rent in advance.'"

Alyssa Adams, who has lived in downtown Miami for a few years, had the same experience. For her, listings would be removed by high bidders before she could even get in contact for a tour. She's looked at dozens and put in applications and offers on a few. She's hoping one of them will come through, or she might have to move.

"If not, probably I'd have to put some stuff in storage and just go back to Atlanta for a few weeks and look at a later move-in date and save a couple weeks' rent," said Adams.

Adams wanted to finally live without a roommate, but now she's looking at potential two bedrooms to split with someone because one-bedrooms and studios are so unaffordable.

Meanwhile, Malik and his wife have found a home in another Miami Lakes rental community, but he wishes he never moved out.

"Since we had to scramble and find something last minute, we found another rental property… but we're ending up paying 200 more than what we were paying at the old place," said Malik.

Sarah Desamours, a real estate agent with Compass, said her clients have been in all sorts of scenarios: from potential homebuyers losing homes to tenants who offered high cash rent for a year up front to clients who are overwhelmed with all the competitive officers they are receiving to renting out their properties.

"We had to offer 6 months up front almost $1,000 over asking in order to secure a property," Desamours said of another client.

Desamours recommends looking into rental communities like Malik and biting the bullet on higher rents for this next lease, and spending that time figuring out what you need to do.

"This is going to give other people an opportunity to live somewhere without being tied down to someone increasing the rent like owners do," said Desamours of rental communities.

"We'll try to make this work and in the meantime, we're going to really do our research and focus on trying to find a place so when our year is up, we'll be more prepared," said Malik, who does feel the process is daunting and that the high prices might not go down anytime soon.

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