Breaking a lease is generally looked down upon. Signing a contract means giving your word that you’ll fulfill your end of it.
Nonetheless, what happens when unforeseen events occur and plans go awry so you break your lease?
This article will provide you with all the important information regarding the laws in Florida on breaking a lease. Remember that both tenants and landlords exercise rights and responsibilities. It’s important to check that each party’s law-given rights are respected.
Breaking a lease can make renting another property more difficult for tenants. Unless there's an early termination clause that allows you to break your lease without penalty, a lawsuit, bad credit score, and negative landlord reference can appear on your record.
Even if your eviction is justifiable, a landlord is not permitted to:
The landlord must follow the proper guideline for an eviction. Sending the correct eviction notices is part of it. For example, the landlord must send a 3-day written notice to tenants who are unable to make the rent payment on the due date.
This would instruct the tenant to pay the rent within 3 days or move out of the property. If there’s a violation, a 7-day notice to cure is sent to the tenant. If the tenant refuses to fix the violation within the prescribed time, he or she must move out of the rental property in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Florida landlord-tenant laws instruct landlords to give sufficient notice to tenants. In situations of non-payment of rent, a 3-day notice must be provided to give ample time for the tenant to pay the due rent or move out. If a tenant refuses to leave after 3 days then the landlord can file for an eviction lawsuit.
If a tenant engages in illegal activity, Florida’s rental laws allow the landlord to provide the tenant with a 7-days’ unconditional quit notice. There are no compromises to fix this particular lease issue so the tenant is left with no other option but to move out of the property. To break a lease does not count in this case. Instead, it's an eviction.
A rental unit must comply with the building, housing, or health codes set by the laws in Florida. Otherwise, a tenant can break a lease.
The landlord must exercise consistent maintenance to ensure that their rental property’s foundation and structural parts are in excellent condition. It must be safe and able to support normal forces and loads. Aside from that, a landlord is also tasked to maintain the plumbing system. This will prevent lease-breaking on top of maintaining the property.
If a tenant is not given access to the rental unit due to the fact that the landlord changed the locks or passcodes, this is considered as harassment. They can legally break a lease for this. When the landlord disconnects their electricity and water sources, the tenant is permitted under Florida laws to stop fulfilling his or her obligations of the lease.
A tenant must be given a 12 hours notice before a landlord can enter the premises as respect to his privacy. If the landlord ignores this rule then the tenant can legally break the lease.
If a tenant is a Service Member/in active military duty, under Florida law, they can simply provide the landlord with a written notice. It should include a copy of deployment orders or a letter from the Service Member’s officer that gives information about the pending deployment.
The renter must also provide sufficient evidence that they will remain on active duty for the next 90 days in order to break the lease and no longer pay rent. Furthermore, these tenants must present proof that the lease was signed prior to engaging in active duty.
In Florida, the laws are landlord-friendly in the sense that a landlord can opt to re-rent their property or passively not exercise initiative to do so. In this case, the tenant bears the burden of meeting the rest of the payment for the entire leasing term. If the leasing condition stipulates that the landlord is entitled to paid damages or early termination notice, they can expect that to be granted.
One such example is if a Florida lease contains a 60-day notice period and 2 months of rent payment then the landlord can ask for these lease conditions to be met by the tenant.
When it comes to lease-breaking, it’s important to remember that everything is dependent on the landlord’s decision. If a tenant breaks a lease early, the landlord can still oblige them to pay the remainder of the rent for the months they won’t be occupying the unit.
This might be a considerable amount if the renter has only stayed for a short period of time. Their security deposit can cover a month or two, however, the landlord can still file a lawsuit against them if they don’t pay the remaining rent that the landlord is entitled to collect for the entire lease tenancy.
Before signing a lease in Jacksonville, Florida, the landlord should ensure that the tenant’s plan is to stay in the rental unit for the amount of time determined in the lease agreement. If a situation does occur and the lease must be broken, it’s vital for both the landlord and tenant to understand the process to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the law.
If you have specific questions on a lease or any other legal aspect, hire the services of a qualified Florida attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a knowledgeable property management company.
Please note that this blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in Florida. Laws frequently change, and this post might not be updated at the time of your reading. Please contact us for any questions you have in regards to this content or any other aspect of your property management needs.