What You Need to Know Before Breaking a Lease in Florida

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Your Guide to Breaking a Lease in Florida

If you are a Florida renter, you may not know that there are legal reasons for breaking a lease in Florida. What happens when you illegally vacate your lease is that you can be subjected to fines and penalties, the rent that is due for the duration of the lease time frame, court costs, and any damages that your landlord finds. Your credit report could be negatively impacted, and it may be difficult for you to qualify for a new rental agreement somewhere else.

DoNotPay can walk you through legally in just three easy steps.

How Can I Legally Break My Lease in Florida?

As a Florida tenant, the best route initially is to have a conversation with your landlord. Let them know why you are breaking your lease, and discuss as openly as possible all of your alternatives. Although this sounds like a great idea, you may not be on good terms or have a complaint with your landlord. In that case, the following reasons to break a lease are legal in Florida:

  • If you are active military and are deployed or reassigned to a new duty location, you are protected under federal law. You can terminate your lease in writing under the War and National Defense Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Once notice is given to your landlord, your tenancy and termination of your rent payments become effective 30 days after the date that rent is next due.
  • Your rental unit must be habitable, safe, and cannot violate Florida health and safety codes. Your landlord is responsible for keeping your unit in good repair, providing water, power, and heat. As a tenant, you must notify the landlord, in writing, of the safety or health violation and give sufficient time to correct the problem.
  • Your landlord cannot harass you, enter your rental unit without giving you at least 12 hours’ notice, or in any way violate your privacy. The landlord cannot change the locks, remove doors or windows, or turn off your utilities.

In many states, there is a landlord's responsibility to mitigate damages by trying to rent the property quickly if the lease ends. This is not the case in Florida. If the landlord re-rents the property before the lease ends, it may reduce the amount of rent you have to pay. However, by law, the landlord has no legal requirement to do so.

Sometimes, if you are on good terms with your landlord, you can file a hardship letter, and they will work with you. Hardship such as loss of job, illness, marital changes, being required to go to assisted living, or a family emergency may require you to break your lease. When presented to your landlord, it gives them the option of working with you or holding you liable for all future rent. There is no Florida law that requires your landlord to make special provisions for hardship, but it is worth a try.

What Happens if I Break My Lease Illegally in Florida?

If you must break your lease illegally, your landlord will not work with you or try to re-rent the property, or you cannot give sufficient notification, the following consequences may occur:

  1. You may be held liable for the remainder of the rent due for the entire term of the lease.
  2. You may be taken to court and also be responsible for court costs or penalties.
  3. Fees for late rent payments may be assessed.
  4. Reports may be made to the credit reporting companies, negatively impacting your credit score and preventing you from qualifying for a new rental.
  5. You may forfeit your security deposit.

Lease Termination Notice Requirements in Florida

When , follow these guidelines to know how much notice you have to give to your landlord:

Rent PaymentNotice TimeStatute
Week-to-week7 days83.57 (4)
Month-to-month15 days83.57 (3)
Year-to-year60 days83.57 (1)

How Can I Break My Lease in Florida Legally on My Own?

To break your lease without penalty, follow these steps, depending on why you’re moving out early:

  • If you are active military and qualify under the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you must give your landlord written notice of your intent to terminate your tenancy for military reasons. You will probably need to give copies of your orders to verify that you are leaving as a result of your service.
  • If you meet the requirements that are considered by Florida law as being uninhabitable conditions, you must notify your landlord of your reasons to terminate your lease. Specific requirements must be met for this to be a legal recourse.
  • If your landlord is harassing you or violating your privacy, file a police report and send a copy with a letter to your landlord explaining the reasons that you will terminate the lease early.
  • If none of those other situations apply to you, try writing a letter to your landlord. Be sure to make it professional and sincere. Offer alternatives, such as a sublet or a qualified tenant, to take over your lease.

What if I Cannot Break My Florida Lease Myself?

DoNotPay is here to help you with the difficult and time-consuming tasks of legally terminating your rental lease. We make it easy in just three steps.

Here's how you can get started in 3 easy steps:

  1. Search Break My Lease on DoNotPay.

  2. Prepare a signed copy of your lease that you can use as a reference, and enter the state the lease was signed in.

  3. Let us guide you through the 4 potential options.

Then, DoNotPay will do one of the following things to help you break your Florida lease:

  • If you're a uniformed service member breaking a lease to fulfill your service obligations, we'll send your landlord an SCRA Protection Letter.
  • If you're breaking your lease for a reason protected by your state's tenant laws, we'll write your landlord a letter detailing your protections for breaking the lease under the relevant law.
  • If your reasons for breaking your lease aren't protected by federal or state law, but you'd like to try to convince your landlord to let you break the lease through mutual agreement, we'll draft a hardship letter making your case to your landlord.
  • If there are no remaining options for breaking the lease with protection, but your state requires landlords to mitigate damages to tenants who break their leases, we'll notify your landlord of that obligation and minimize the remaining rent you have to pay.

We will send your letter, and you can expect a response from your landlord in a few weeks.

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