Miamians have seen it all: Rising sea levels, falling iguanas, drug lords, corrupt public officials — you name it, we've had it.
But a sudden 80 percent rent increase, even amid the city's increasingly dire housing affordability crisis? That'd be a first.
So this past weekend, when a tenant at the posh Midtown Five apartments shared a photo on the popular r/Miami subreddit showing a lease renewal letter that indicated a whopping 82 percent rent hike for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment — from $1,858 to $3,855 at a minimum — the post went viral. The April 26 letter notes that the tenants' lease ends in July and lists more than a dozen renewal offers up to $4,600.
"I think there is a happy medium so landlords can still maintain and have a good cap rate on their investment," the poster replied to a commenter, "but 82% is predatory."
A Midtown Five spokesperson responded via email to New Times' request for comment, blaming "a clerical error" in the resident's letter that has since been corrected.
New Times attempted unsuccessfully to reach the tenant.
Error or no, the post popped up as rental prices are surging to "insane" levels across the nation, with no end in sight. According to an April report from the online rental platform Zumper, Miami is now the third-priciest U.S. city for renters, with the median monthly rental rate for a one-bedroom unit pegged at $2,630 and a two-bedroom unit going for roughly $3,550.
A sleek, 24-story, "pet-friendly apartment community" located on NE 32nd Street at NE First Avenue catty-corner from the Shops at Midtown Miami, Midtown Five contains 400 apartments, from studios to one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.
The tenant's Reddit post has garnered nearly 800 comments, with many users noting the absurdity of the letter.
"They aren't raising your rent, they are kicking you out," reads one reply.
"You, my friend, are getting gentrified. Only tech bros and NY finance dudes allowed in Miami's 'luxury' apts," another responded.
"And Crypto bros," added a third.
It remains to be seen what the tenant's actual renewal offer letter looks like. But Midtown Five's own website indicates that an apartment like the one where the tenant said they live — a one-bedroom, one-bathroom, 758-square-foot unit — is currently going for at least $3,294. That's only about $100 cheaper than the least expensive renewal offer ($3,385) listed in the purportedly erroneous viral letter.
You might be wondering: Is it legal for a landlord to raise the rent by that much?
The answer, thanks to Florida's lack of rent-control laws, is yes indeed. A landlord can legally jack up rent by as much as they want, as long as they give the tenant a heads-up. As of last month, Miami-Dade County landlords are required to notify tenants at least two months in advance of a rent hike that will exceed 5 percent.