What are my rights when I break my rental lease in Florida?
For some tenants, certain circumstances can result in needing or wanting to move from their rental before the end of the lease. For example, if a parent falls ill and a tenant needs to move home, he/she will need to terminate or break their lease immediately. Our West Palm Beach residential lease attorneys are here to provide further information about Florida tenant rights and how to break a lease without falling responsible for the remaining rent.
When signing a lease, there is an obligation binding both the landlord and the signee to a set period of occupancy. Typically, the landlord is prohibited from increasing the rent or leasing terms. Unless the tenant fails to pay rent or violates the conditions, the landlord cannot force the occupant to move out before the lease ends. If such violations do occur, there are strict procedures to end the tenancy according to Florida Statute Ann. § 83-56(3), such as providing three days’ notice to settle the owed rent or vacate the home prior to an eviction lawsuit being filed.
Furthermore, there are conditions when it is acceptable to break a lease in Florida where the tenant is not liable for paying the remaining amount of rent:
1. Active Military Duty
According to federal law, a tenant that enters into active military service after signing a lease has the right to vacate. The tenant must be a part of the following services: armed forces, Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Corps of the Public Health Service, and the National Guard. The landlord needs to be notified that the tenant is leaving due to active military duty. The lease will be terminated 30 days after the next rent is due.
2. Rental is in Violation of Health or Safety Codes
Under local and state housing codes, if a rental unit does not categorize as “habitable housing” the court will deem “constructive eviction,” where the tenant is evicted so that he or she is not liable for the remaining rent. There are strict sets of standards that landlords are held to in Florida according to Florida Statutes at Part II, Chapter 83, Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. Furthermore, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 83.60 outlines the additional standards that tenants must follow before moving out if there is a legal violation of habitable housing.
3. Privacy Violation
In Florida, as stated in Sta. Ann. § 83.53, landlords are required to give 12 hours notice before entering their tenants’ rental property. If a tenant’s privacy is repeatedly violated, our West Palm Beach residential lease attorneys will work with the defendant to seek legal action in order to remedy the wrongdoing and break the lease without liability.
Minimizing Financial Responsibilities
There are multiple reasons why a tenant may want to break a lease, some of which do not have a legal justification for not paying. In most lease agreements, the tenant is legally bound to pay the entirety of the rent throughout the lease term. Providing a substantial amount of time in advance before breaking a lease, ensuring a good reference for a replacement tenant, and providing a valid reason for leaving can all be useful for those without justification.
If you find yourself in a situation where legal counsel is needed to break a lease due to legally recognized reasons, call our attorneys at Kelley Fulton Kaplan & Eller and schedule a consultation today.