In some cases, circumstances occur that are beyond one’s control, which results in you breaking your lease. It’s vital to know what actions to take as a landlord to prevent losses. It’s also useful to learn the conditions of breaking a lease early as a tenant so one avoids its adverse effects.
In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the lease law set in Tampa, Florida.
Breaking a Lease in Tampa, Florida
Breaking a Florida lease, or any other lease can have several ramifications. They include the chance of being sued by a landlord and one’s security deposit not being refunded. It could also have a negative effect on one’s credit score.
Renters Rights & Responsibilities
Even if there is solid justification for an eviction, it is illegal for a landlord to:
- Cause utility service disruption to a tenant by shutting down its sources.
- Preventing the entry of a tenant to the rental unit by replacing the locks with new ones.
- Remove doors and windows of the rental space to make it difficult for a tenant to live in peace and privacy.
- Not allow service members to rent to guard against the possible legal lease breaking.
Florida landlords must be well versed in the eviction process. They must know the proper eviction notices to send to their Florida tenants. In this case, for tenants in Tampa, Florida who are unable to pay the monthly rent, a 3-day written notice must be issued.
For Florida tenants who violate the lease agreement, however, the landlord must give them a 7-day notice to cure the violation. Failure to pay the rent or cure the violation within the prescribed periods would signify moving out of the rental unit.
Tenant Rights and Duties When Signing a Lease in Tampa, Florida
The Florida landlord-tenant laws stipulate that landlords must follow lease law when ending the tenancy. They must provide the 3-day written notice to tenants to pay or choose to be evicted from the property. The landlord will pursue legal actions if the tenants refuse to follow the notice.
If the landlord discovers that the tenants are conducting illegal activities in their rental property, then they can hand a 7-days’ unconditional quit notice to the tenant. This signifies that there are no other steps a tenant can take to continue their stay in the rental unit.
When a tenant signs the lease agreement, it’s a binding contract. They’re responsible for paying the landlord the whole rental sum for the length of the leasing term. For example, a monthly rent of $1,000 and a 1-year lease entitles the landlord to a sum of $12,000.
Should a tenant break a lease agreement, even at the latter half part of the year, on the 7th month, they must still pay $5,000 to the landlord.
Reasons to Break a Lease
1. Early termination clause
It’s important to go over the lease agreement. It might contain stipulations where breaking the lease is legal as long as the tenant meets certain conditions. Some agreements would require two (2) months payment of rent while others would need just a thirty (30)-day notice beforehand. Others would require both payment and a certain number of days for a landlord to be notified.
2. Unsafe and uninhabitable rental unit
When a landlord does not take any actions to attend to the extermination of pests then a tenant can break the lease.
This could include but is not limited to rats, roaches, ants, and bedbugs (unless it’s agreed that the tenant will manage this).
3. When a tenant is being harassed by the landlord or their privacy is invaded
Harassment can occur in different forms. This could result from shutting off utilities and changing the locks to prevent a tenant’s entry.
This could also refer to the invasion of privacy. For example, being served a notice for property inspection for less than 12 hours (unless otherwise agreed upon).
Landlord’s Duty to Find a New Tenant in Tampa, Florida
Florida landlords are well protected by its State laws. They can exercise his or her options to actively look for a new tenant when the previous one wants to break the lease. Yet they can also choose to remain inactive. The tenant is still responsible for paying the entire rent for the signed leasing period.
However, if there’s an early termination clause provided in your Florida lease agreement then the tenant must settle the damages agreed upon. If there’s also an agreed notice period then the tenant must meet that requirement as well. For example, most leases consider two months of rent payment and 2 months notice period reasonable.
A tenant can aid the Florida landlord by asking permission to sublet the rental unit to pay back the rent due. They could also find suitable replacements. It’s the best recourse for a tenant who wants to break their lease in Florida.
Bottom Line: Breaking a Lease in FL
In Florida, there are numerous laws surrounding lease breaking. As a landlord or a tenant, it’s very important for both parties to understand the lease law to avoid possible lawsuits.
If you have specific questions about lease law or landlord-tenant law in Florida, hire the services of a qualified attorney. Alternatively, you can seek help from a Tampa property management company.
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.