Can I break my lease agreement?
A lease for an apartment, condo, or house is typical and generally lasts for a duration of one year. Upon completion of the lease, the tenant has the choice to either:
1) renew the lease for the same or different duration
2) relocate and move out
3) stay renting on a month to month basis
4) possibly be subject to an eviction
However, what happens if you want to end your lease before the agreement ends? In the best-case scenario, your landlord will agree and permit you to end your lease agreement early. But in many situations, clients seek a legal answer to how they can break their lease agreement.
Many leases address this scenario in the lease through an opt-out clause. It’s extremely common to find details that allow you to end a lease agreement early. Many times, a tenant must give the landlord 30-days notice that they want to end the lease early. Other times, a tenant must pay a large fee to move-out. Look to your lease to see if your lease has some sort of opt-out clause.
A common solution to leases that do have a large sum that must be paid to move is subleasing or reletting your home. Under these circumstances, you are responsible for finding someone to take over the financial responsibilities of paying rent, and who will occupy the place for a set period of time or until the lease expires.
Under a sublease scenario, you are still responsible for any damages of the sublease tenant. Additionally, under a relet scenario, the individual completely assumes the financial and personal liability of the home, and you are no longer responsible.
Florida Law Justifications
Florida Law provides for several justifications for terminating a lease agreement early.
- Military Duty Will Soon Commence: as a tenant who will soon start military duty, you are required to give your landlord 30 days' notice, and then your lease agreement will terminate.
- Violates your Privacy: Unless otherwise agreed, if a landlord enters your rental unit and does not provide at least 12 hours' notice, this may give you grounds to terminate your lease agreement early.
- Your Rental Unit is Not Habitable: your landlord must comply with building, housing, and health codes to make sure your home is safe and habitable. Under certain situations such as a roof leak, or no running water, or broken stairs, etc, you may be able to move out and terminate your lease.
Speak with a Real Estate Attorney
Before you take any such action, you should speak with a knowledgeable real estate attorney. A real estate lawyer can examine your lease and advise you with your course of actions that you can take while paying the least amount of possible. Our offices have been advising tenants on landlord-tenant law in Florida for over 30 years. Call for an appointment today: (772) 589-5500.