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Renter's Guide to Brandon

When John Brandon founded Brandon, Florida, in the late 19th century he probably did not foresee the phenomenal growth that would follow. In the 1960’s, Brandon’s population was a mere 8,000 residents. But, as nearby Tampa’s population exploded, the unincorporated community in flourishing Hillsborough County has also spiked. Today, Brandon is home to more than 2,500 businesses. It occupies a land mass equal to 23.69 square miles.

Due to Brandon’s 19-mile ride to Tampa, many locals take advantage of the larger city’s amenities. Brandon is just 36 miles from the white beaches of Clearwater and 81 miles from all the attractions in Orlando. From Tampa International Airport, Brandon is 1,134 miles from New York City, the Big Apple!

Brandon’s climate is classified as tropical with an August – September hurricane season, hot summers and comfortable winters. The average high in July is 90 degrees while the average low in January is 49 degrees. Brandon enjoys about 245 sunny days per year and only accumulates about 45 inches of rain over the course of a year.

Cost of Living in Brandon, FL

The cost of living in Brandon FL is about 3% lower than in other Florida cities of comparable size. Rents in Brandon, Florida, also tend to compare favorably with other Florida communities.

The first mile of a taxi in Brandon costs $2.10. Many guests and locals prefer Uber. Bus fares in Brandon are reasonable. A one-way fare costs about $2.00 while the monthly pass runs $65.00. Senior discounts are available.

Brandon has many restaurants covering a full spectrum of popular cuisines. An individual dinner for one at an inexpensive restaurant in Brandon costs $13.50, significantly lower than in Tampa. A three-course dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant costs $45.00. A pint of domestic beer will cost $4.00 in Brandon where regular cappuccino costs $3.53.

Basic utilities, including electric, heat, water and trash removal for a 915-square-foot apartment in Brandon cost $133.81 per month. Basic cable Internet service costs $52.28 per month.

Living in Brandon

Convenience is one factor that has sparked Brandon’s astonishing growth. The average commute time in Brandon is 25.6 minutes. The median age is 34.6 years, well below the 41.5 median age of Floridians.

Brandon residents cite proximity to Tampa as a definite advantage. Moreover, the high school graduation rate in Brandon is 6% higher than the state average and median household income is a robust 16% higher than the state average. On the downside, Brandon has a crime rate that is 12% higher than the state average but the cost of housing runs about 6% lower than the average in Florida.

As Brandon continues to grow, many residents feel the infrastructure will need improvement.

Things to do in Brandon

Here’s a surprise: Brandon contains one of the largest shopping malls in South Florida, Westfield Brandon, formerly known as Brandon Town Center.

Tourists of all ages love Dinosaur World, Brandon’s Hall of Fame and the Ybor City Museum Society, where the significance of Tampa’s Cuban population is celebrated. Brandon’s Florida Railroad Museum supports the importance of the railroad to development of Florida’s west coast.

Brandon has many safe and appealing parks. Davis Park, All Person Rotary Park, Lettuce Lake Park, Paul Sanders Park, the Park at Siena, and Heather Lakes Park are samples of waterside and inland parks enjoyed by residents and guests to Brandon. Sadie Park offers various athletic fields while the 5-acre Mango Dog Park is alive with dogs of all ages thriving in off-leash activities.

Dining prices are slightly lower in Brandon than in Tampa so most Brandon restaurants and nightclubs stay busy year round. Stein and Vine, Shrimp Boat Grill, and Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza give their clientele reliable portions and consistency all year. Watch your calories at The Cheesecake Factory, and savor every mouthful from Allegria Italiano or enjoy Taste of Berlin German Restaurant. Olive Garden and Red Lobster are busy while the mozzarella cheese pizza from Hungry Howdies will not be beaten. Many residents think the hibachi menu from Yokohama Japanese Restaurant is the most enjoyable place to eat in town.

After the IMAX experience at AMC The Regency 20, or to celebrate finding the right used car at Drive Time, try sushi or billiards at The Rack, enjoy the country scene at The Dallas Bull, or choose from a wide selection of beers at The Brass Tap.

Brandon has many family activity destinations, including Skateland of Brandon, North Brandon Family YMCA, Ace Golf & Pro Shop, Golden City Gymnastics, and the Riverview Tide Youth Football and Cheer Association.

Brandon has strong community spirit. Residents and visitors enjoy trail rides at Turkey Creek Stables or letting their dogs run leash-free at the Retreat at Crosstown. Wherever you are in Brandon, you are sure to feel welcome.

Brandon is home to Westfield Brandon Shopping Center – a great shopping destination featuring Books-A-Million, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's, Sears and 170 specialty retailers – as well as Kings Row Shopping Center and K Mart Shopping Center. Regency Square Shopping Center covers 350,000 sq. ft. with more than 50 retail stores. Moreover, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Best Buy all have strong presences in this Tampa suburb.

Publix outlets offer convenient online ordering. Chain retailers like Michaels, Lowes, Petsmart, Hobbytown, and Party City have had success growing along with the community

Most annual events in Brandon are community-oriented. The Brandon Leadership Casino Night, Christmas in July Celebration and events like Les Play: A Night of Romance, always draw well. Brandon is also home to the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, the permanent home of the annual Hillsborough County Fair, which occurs in October every year.

Working in Brandon, FL

Most employers are local. Maple Leaf Consumer Foods employs about 2,100 Brandon residents. Behlen Industries has 300 jobs while Koch Industries employs the same number of workers. However, the employment market in Tampa is strong with many Fortune 500 Companies active in the city.

Education in Brandon

The Brandon Public School system is administered by the Hillsborough County School District. Notable elementary schools include Brooker Elementary, Kingswood Elementary School and highly regarded Limona Elementary School, one of the highest rated schools in the state. Brandon has 23 public and charter schools that funnel students into Brandon High School. Burns Middle School and McLane Middle School are notable middle schools in the district.

Brandon has several smaller colleges and universities that compliment USF in Tampa and the University of Tampa. Southern Technical College of Brandon, Athens State University, Emmaus Baptist College, Everest University – Brandon and Ashford University are a few of the better known colleges located in Brandon.

Tips for Renting in Brandon

Landlord – Tenant rights and duties are governed by Chapter 83, Part II of the Florida Statutes that outline procedures when landlords and tenants engage in civil actions. To avoid these actions, tenants are advised to follow certain steps before they agree to rent. Remember that in Florida, oral and written rental agreements are binding.

By recognizing that Florida regards tenants as equal parties in rental situations, the tenant is always advised to perform a thorough inspection and walk through of the property prior to agreeing to rent. If there are repairs needed to make the rental unit safe and habitable, make sure they are performed prior to occupancy and relinquishing any funds.

Tenants should feel free to use technology to support their pre-rental evaluations and request for repairs. Videos, written notes, and written agreements to perform repairs can settle many issues before they become formal disagreements. Tenants should make sure complaints are repaired or clauses requiring the repairs to be performed are included in the rental agreement prior to signing.

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