Also be sure to investigate to be sure the landlord is current with their mortgage or he may decide to do a pre-foreclosure, Short Sale and you may be required to allow showings with minimal notice. Also if your air conditioner breaks he may not have the money to repair it! There are also some scammers advertising rentals and are not the owner and collecting money so go on public records to verify who the owner is, too!
Better to rent in a rental apartment complex or do a lot of homework investigating the owner before handing over any money.
If your credit is sufficient but you lack the downpayment money to be an owner, the State of Florida has up to $7,500 in the first time homebuyer bond program. Go here and select a lender on the approved list and they can reserve the money for you if your income is not too high:
Other lenders may not want to even tell you about this program because it does limit the profit the lender can make on your mortgage because the State of Florida will not allow a lender to overcharge you on the rate or fees. You must also have a 640 Fico and be able to qualify for an FHA, USDA, VA or conventional mortgage. You cannot buy a "fixer upper" property, it has to be in good functional condition (it can still be ugly, by the way... lol)
If your credit is preventing you from getting a mortgage you may be able to find a credit union to take the risk with you. You will probably need 20% down and a stable job history and not too much debt. A bankruptcy is okay and even a short sale. They will not have to "fit" you into the exact guidelines that the typical bank or mortgage lender will require.
Lastly you might try the NACA program. You will need to plan on renting for a while but it may help you to eventually be able to buy. Just make sure to select your Realtor "first" and have her/him sign you up on the program or she may have to give a large fee to NACA. Here's info: