What do I do when my apartment was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma?

Q: My apartment was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma. It’s more than three years old and we’ve had to do a lot of renovations. The landlord is asking if I would like to move…

What do I do when my apartment was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma?

Q: My apartment was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma. It’s more than three years old and we’ve had to do a lot of renovations. The landlord is asking if I would like to move out now and I don’t want to rush into anything. What should I do about the apartment so that it stays ready for me when I’m ready to move?

A:

When there’s more than one apartment owner on a property, a landlord’s concern must be protecting the investment he’s made in the property. The property is his investment as well. A tenant’s primary goal is to find a place that is better than what he has.

Your decision about how long to sublet the apartment will take time. Given that you cannot move at this time, a possible approach is to offer to sublet the apartment through a broker if he would represent you and charge you a broker’s fee.

According to a National Association of Realtors position paper entitled, “How to Become a Tenant Investor,” an individual can:

• Rent an apartment in a family or other type of family’s unit to earn additional income

• Rent vacant or underutilized rental units

• Rent vacant apartments after they have been used for residential purposes

• Rent units in prime locations in urban areas

• Rent a unit in an apartment building

• Rent apartments in long-term rental properties.

Before asking a potential broker to represent you, it’s best to find out how much the broker will charge. You can consider paying a broker’s fee for all units in your sublet. It may also be wise to ask how many months of service and other fees are charged to your broker for each unit he represents you. Depending on your broker, your monthly apartment payment could vary. As you start to rent a unit, reduce the broker’s fee so he is motivated to bring you the best rental.

You can try finding a property in which you can rent while you assess the market, but that may prove difficult at this time.

Remember, however, that an inflexible lease or lease-purchase option will restrict you and the landlord from proceeding. In that case, it’s better to show the property to your next potential tenant and eventually find a listing that fits with your value for the property.

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