A rental lease is an agreement between a landlord and tenant that details the terms of renting a specified property for a certain period of time, usually 12 months. Once a lease is signed, the tenant is obligated to pay rent on the property for the entire term of the lease. Even if the tenant moves out, also known as “breaking the lease”, they are still responsible for paying the rent on the leased property until the lease is over or the property is re-rented, whichever comes first. Not paying the rent after breaking a lease can result in a ding on your credit or even a case in small claims court. Landlords in Florida also do not have the obligation to try to quickly re-rent the property, although here at Douglas Realty Property Management we always strive to re-rent unoccupied properties as quickly as possible.
Acceptable Reasons to Break a Lease in Florida
Florida law allows tenants to leave a rental property and not fulfill the terms of the lease if:
- The tenant begins active duty military service
- The property is inhabitable due to violating Florida’s health and safety codes
- The landlord harasses the tenant
- The landlord violates the tenant’s privacy
The tenant bears the responsibility of proving that one of these situations applies in order to break the lease. Allegations of unsafe housing, harassment, or privacy violations must be properly made to be considered valid.
Other Options When Breaking a Lease
Some landlords include clauses in the rental lease agreement specific to their policies when a tenant needs to break a lease for a reason not listed above, such as a liquidated damages clause. There are very specific rules surrounding how these clauses must be presented and worded in order for them to be used.
At Douglas Realty Property Management, the renewal section of our leases include a provision that if a tenant vacates the leased property as of the lease expiration date without providing the required 30 days notice, we charge one month of additional rent. Additionally, if the landlord gives the tenant proper notice to vacate by the lease expiration date and the tenant does not, they are responsible for holdover rent until they vacate.
A landlord may also be willing to accept the recommendation of a suitable replacement from the current tenant to limit the amount of time that the property sits vacant.
Landlords and tenants should discuss the terms related to breaking the lease before it is signed.
Let Us Deal With Tenancy Issues For You
If you own rental property in Southwest Florida and are tired of dealing with tenant issues like lease breaking, Douglas Realty Property Management is here to help. Our property management experts know all of the laws related to tenancy in Florida and have the experience needed to handle any issues quickly and with minimal financial impact. Call (239) 542-6906 or contact us online for more information today!