PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Finding a place to rent can be stressful in normal times, but it’s especially daunting with rents reaching unprecedented levels.
WPTV joined a local woman in her quest to find a home on Monday.
Cynthia Griner found herself in a difficult situation. She must find shelter and quickly.
But the 55-year-old quickly discovered how difficult it can be to find an apartment in South Florida in 2022.
“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 out of paradise.
“I don’t know where I’m going to live,” Griner said. “I don’t know where I’m going to plant my roots.”
To make matters worse, she recently separated from her husband after 31 years and has been a stay-at-home mom the entire time.
“It’s a total lifestyle change, and my world has fallen apart,” Griner said.
She is now forced to find a job, while trying to find affordable housing for herself and her 6-year-old daughter, Hope.
Since April, she has only been able to find a few places but was unable to qualify due to her low credit rating.
“Both told me they couldn’t work with me,” Griner said.
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WPTV caught up with her while on a tour of a house for rent in Palm Beach Gardens with realtor Jeff Lichtenstein.
He stressed the importance of improving your credit before you start looking. He said a score of 600 and above would give you the best chance of landing a house.
“Sometimes there’s a reason someone’s credit score is lower. It’s not their fault,” Lichtenstein said. “Or where there was a mistake in there, so you can deal with a lot of that in advance.”
With rents up 40% from last year in Palm Beach County, Lichtenstein said renters should also start considering other options elsewhere when it comes to affordability.
“You may need to expand where you go to search, so it can be further west or go north to northern Palm Beach [County] or Martin County,” Lichtenstein said.
He also advises to avoid waiting until the last minute.
“Know when your lease is coming up and think about it well in advance rather than waiting until the last minute, then you need to have a plan,” Lichtenstein said.
Griner hopes to rent a new residence by June. She and her daughter currently live with her adult son in Greenacres.
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