Laws on Breaking a Lease in Florida

Breaking a lease in Florida is more often than not difficult. Generally speaking, breaking a lease anywhere is not very favorable. However, sometimes, life circumstances may force you to do it. While not really the most optimal situation to find yourself in, there are ways to do it without getting into much legal trouble. Laws on breaking a lease in Florida, at least, are pretty clear and straightforward. Every landlord has certain rights, and so do you. Let’s delve into what they say.

The usual way to breaking a lease in Florida is to wait for it to expire

The typical way to end a lease is to wait for the lease period to expire. This is the “natural” way for a lease to end. After the expiration ends, you can choose not to renew it. Generally speaking, most landlords offer 1-year-long contracts, however, you can likely find longer or shorter contracts. This also depends on your negotiating skills. By the end of the stay, you will be required to move out and leave the apartment as it was before. However, the moment you put a signature on the lease agreement, you commit to staying for as long as it’s specified in the lease. Keep that in mind, considering this obligation carries legal responsibility.

However, breaking a lease in Florida is something you have to do in advance

Usually, this involves sending a letter with a prior notification to your landlord. Florida code specifies that you have to do this 60 days in advance, that is, before the day you leave. Of course, the entirety of the sum must be paid in advance. Your financial responsibility is equal to at least two of your monthly rent amounts. Of course, this is the usual way to do it. Some lease agreements provide exceptions, and they are your main point of reference.

A person signing a contract.
Even breaking a lease is a matter of reaching a deal.

Of course, you can always try to talk it out with your landlord or landlady

This isn’t advice of strictly legal nature. They’re human too – they might show understanding and empathy for your situation. Of course, they are under no obligation to do so, by law, but there’s nothing stopping them, either. So what you can do is try to maintain good relations with them. We here at Orange Movers Miami believe that there is no problem that can’t be solved with talking, and this is one of them.

Having that in mind, there are some circumstances which you can use to your advantage

Generally speaking, you will have to pay the sum for the entire duration as collateral, no matter when you leave. If your landlord demands it. However, the Florida Code provides some exception to the rule.

If you join the military on active duty

This is according to federal law, which takes precedence over the Florida Code. However, you have to be a part of the uniformed forces, which includes armed forces, commissioned corps, or the National Guard. If this happens, you can notify your landlord about breaking a lease in Florida 30 days in advance instead of the regular 60. You can break the lease at any point, and you don’t need to pay the remainder of the sum. Even if that moment comes the moment you’re done moving to Florida and entering the rented housing unit.

Men in military uniforms.
Uniformed military duty means that breaking a lease in Florida is much easier.

Violations on the landlord’s side

There is a term “constructive eviction”, which has significant recognition within the Florida Code. Basically, if your landlord makes the housing unit inhospitable, then you have been “creatively evicted”. The landlord, you see, is under obligation to give you housing for the full duration of the lease and cannot evict you at any point (unless there are violations on your part). Basically, the legal logic is as follows:

  • The landlord has rented out an inhospitable housing unit;
  • The tenant has made an obligation to pay for that unit until the end of the lease;
  • However, the tenant cannot be reasonably expected to live under such conditions;
  • Therefore, the tenant is under no obligation to pay for anything and can move out.

However, the problem cannot just be any small inconvenience. Mold in the corners is not going to make the court rule in your favor. But lack of electricity or running water surely will.

You are under harassment by your landlord

A landlord must give you a 12-hour notice before entering the apartment. If he violates that, you have every right to leave without paying the remainder of the sum. Breaking a lease in Florida in cases such as these is remarkably easy. However, you will need to present some solid proof that harassment has actually taken place. In this instance, security cameras (which are cheap and easy to install) are the recommended solution. If this happens, call your Miami Beach movers and you can start relocating immediately.

Breaking a lease in Florida is also much easier if you can find another tenant

Let’s call this person “Tenant B” (that would hypothetically speaking, make you Tenant A). Breaking a lease is something you can do if you can find another person to replace you. This means that Tenant B is now paying for housing and using it instead of you. And since the unit is under lease, that means that you’re free to go with no obligations – monetary or otherwise.

Man stamping an agreement with two other men watching.
Breaking a lease in Florida is much easier if you have a replacement tenant in mind.

“But how can I find a new tenant?”

Well, you can look for one anywhere. It could be a friend, or a family member, on an entirely unknown person. Basically, they get someone else to find a good apartment for them for free, and what you get is that someone takes over and you don’t have to pay a cent. It’s a situation that works out for all of you (including the landlord). He doesn’t have to look for a new tenant, for example. You don’t have to pay the remainder of the sum. And Tenant B doesn’t need to look for a housing unit. It’s a win for everybody and it’s the easiest road to breaking a lease in Florida with no monetary fees.