Landlord's Market Means Tenants Must Do Their Homework

There are few rentals especially in Westchase, which is creating a Landlord's market. Renters must educate themselves.

Homes for rent in nice neighborhoods in good condition are few and far between these days. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of renters looking for homes. 

There are several different types of scenarios where people decide to rent instead of buy.  Some of the more common reasons include: (1) moving from another city and current home hasn't sold, (2) starting a new job and want to settle into job and determine best neighborhood to suit their styles, (3) coming out of life change situation like divorce, short sale, foreclosure, bankruptcy or other distress or possibly (4) saving for their first home.

With many owners opting to sell rather than rent, tenants have few rentals to choose from currently. But that doesn't mean renters should settle for less than ethical leases. What are the concerns on both sides and what can you do to protect yourself in each situation?

Landlords are in the prime position in today's rental market.  There is low rental inventory in most neighborhoods, especially the Westchase area.  This allows landlords to acheive above market rates on their rentals if they are good shape with nice upgrades and are willing to include lawn and, if appropriate, pool maintenance.  Rentals rates in Westchase proper are running just about $1.00 per sq.ft. and sometimes more for beautiful homes in fabulous neighborhoods.

Landlords in Westchase are getting several applications on their rentals and their pick of the best candidate usually in a short amount of marketing time. 

And since there are few rentals to choose from, tenants often end up putting in applications on more than one home before they actually are accepted as the tenant.  Each time they submit an application, there is an application fee per person so it can get costly.

There are some ways to increase your chances of finding a good rental. Start your rental search 45-60 before their current lease ends.  Once you find a property, be sure to do a public record search for liens and legal proceedings on the property. You can gain this information by contacting the Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts.

One of the more common scenarios that is affecting tenants right now are landlords who are delinquent on their mortgage, pocketing the rent and then the tenant is served with foreclosure papers.  Another common hardship for a tenant in this situation is if a repair crops up and they can't get a hold of the delinquent landlord.  More importantly if the landlord is skipping out on the mortgage, it is unlikely that the security deposit will be returned to the tenant. 

Although there are no guarantees with a landlord, tenants should also complete their due diligence to be sure at the time of lease signing that the landlord is not delinquent, in pre-foreclosure or foreclosure status. You can do this by contacting the Hillsborough County Property Appraisers office.

If you find that you have an unresponsive landlord or legal action has been filed, contact your real estate professional to start looking for another rental and get a referral from them for a lawyer that specializes in real estate law for next steps.

Here are a few real estate companies that can help you find a rental property in the Westchase area:

  • , 12161 Linebaugh Avenue. 813-859-5084.
  • , 12551 Bassbrook Ln. 813-855-8000.
  • Deon & Company, 3980 Tampa Road Suite 101 Oldsmar. 813-855-1275


Alan Lane June 10, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Great advice. A way to avoid part of the problem of landlord foreclosure is to use a neutral 3rd party to hold the security deposit and pre-paid rents. One company that specializes in this is DepositGuard.


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