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Renters face high costs, low inventory as housing crisis impacts South Florida

Real estate broker offers advice for renters
Posted at 5:23 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 18:41:06-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Finding a place to rent can be stressful in normal times, but it is especially daunting with rents soaring to unprecedented levels.

WPTV joined a local woman on her quest to find a home Monday.

Cynthia Griner found herself in a tough situation. She has to find shelter and fast.

But the 55-year-old woman found out quickly just how hard finding an apartment in South Florida in 2022 can be.

"I just don’t know if I can even stay here in Florida," Griner said.

Griner has called Palm Beach County home for more than a decade but now faces the harsh reality of being priced out of paradise.

Cynthia Griner, renter
Cynthia Griner discusses the difficulty of finding a new place to live in Palm Beach County after her recent divorce.

"I don’t know where I'm going to live," Griner said. "I don't know where I'm going to put my roots down."

To make matters worse, she recently separated from her husband after 31 years and was a stay-at-home mom the entire time.

"It's a total lifestyle change, and my world has crumbled," Griner said.

She's now being forced to find a job, all while trying to find an affordable place to call home for herself and her 6-year-old daughter, Hope..

Since April, she has been able to find just a few places but couldn't qualify because of her low credit score.

"I was told by both of them that they could not work with me," Griner said.

WATCH: Real estate broker offers advice for renters

Facebook Q&A: Advice for South Florida renters

WPTV caught up with her during a showing of a home listed for rent in Palm Beach Gardens with real estate broker Jeff Lichtenstein.

He stressed the importance of improving your credit before you start looking. He said a score of 600 and above will you give you the best chance at landing a home.

"There's reason sometimes when somebody's credit score is lower. That's not their fault," Lichtenstein said. "Or where there's been a mistake in there, so you can address a lot of these in advance."

With rent increasing upward of 40% from last year in Palm Beach County, Lichtenstein said renters should also start considering other options elsewhere when it comes to looking for affordability.

Real estate broker Jeff Lichtenstein offers advice for renters, May 2, 2022
Real estate broker Jeff Lichtenstein offers advice to renters struggling to find a home in South Florida.

"You may have to broaden where you're going to look, so that may be more out west or going north toward northern Palm Beach [County] or into Martin County," Lichtenstein said.

He also advises avoiding waiting until the last minute.

"Know when your lease is up and think about it way ahead of schedule versus waiting to the last minute, and then you have to have a plan," Lichtenstein said.

Griner hopes to be renting a new residence by June. She and her daughter are currently living with her adult son in Greenacres.


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