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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Breaking a Lease in Florida

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Florida

    Hi, I am a landlord, our tenants signed a 3 year lease of our home in Florida and are supposed to move in in a few days.

    Before they signed the lease, we came to a verbal agreement that we would not replace the carpets (they have some permanent stains in a couple rooms) and in return, we would not charge a separate pet deposit for their 2 large dogs. The tenants agreed.

    Today, they inspected the house and demanded that the carpets be replaced or they would break the lease. (We've had the carpets professionally cleaned, so they are in better shape than when they inspected them in June.)

    We came to a verbal agreement in March for them to rent from us, and we signed the lease in June. So that is a lot of time that we could have had the house on the market to sell or rent.

    What sort of recourse do we have if they do decide to break the lease? We have already collected a general deposit and they just mailed (supposedly) the first months rent a few days ago.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,992

    Default Re: Breaking Lease in Florida

    You can take them to small claims court for whatever rent accumulates between the time they break the lease and the time you find a new tenant.

    You do need to make a good faith effort to re-rent as quickly as possible.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    181

    Default Re: Breaking Lease in Florida

    Actually, Florida law does NOT require the landlord to mitigate damages. He can simply sit back and collect rent for the full duration of the lease or sue.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    73,754

    Default Re: Breaking Lease in Florida

    Unusual, but true. However, most tenants aren't very collectable, so unless the breach comes close to the end of the lease term it seems that it would be an unusual circumstance in which a landlord will choose to let a property sit empty in the hope of collecting rent at the end of the lease term, or sue the tenant each month for unpaid rent.
    Quote Quoting Florida Statutes, Sec. 83.595 Choice of remedies upon breach or early termination by tenant.
    If the tenant breaches the rental agreement for the dwelling unit and the landlord has obtained a writ of possession, or the tenant has surrendered possession of the dwelling unit to the landlord, or the tenant has abandoned the dwelling unit, the landlord may:

    (1) Treat the rental agreement as terminated and retake possession for his or her own account, thereby terminating any further liability of the tenant;

    (2) Retake possession of the dwelling unit for the account of the tenant, holding the tenant liable for the difference between the rent stipulated to be paid under the rental agreement and what the landlord is able to recover from a reletting. If the landlord retakes possession, the landlord has a duty to exercise good faith in attempting to relet the premises, and any rent received by the landlord as a result of the reletting must be deducted from the balance of rent due from the tenant. For purposes of this subsection, the term "good faith in attempting to relet the premises" means that the landlord uses at least the same efforts to relet the premises as were used in the initial rental or at least the same efforts as the landlord uses in attempting to rent other similar rental units but does not require the landlord to give a preference in renting the premises over other vacant dwelling units that the landlord owns or has the responsibility to rent;

    (3) Stand by and do nothing, holding the lessee liable for the rent as it comes due; or

    (4) Charge liquidated damages, as provided in the rental agreement, or an early termination fee to the tenant if the landlord and tenant have agreed to liquidated damages or an early termination fee, if the amount does not exceed 2 months' rent, and if, in the case of an early termination fee, the tenant is required to give no more than 60 days' notice, as provided in the rental agreement, prior to the proposed date of early termination. This remedy is available only if the tenant and the landlord, at the time the rental agreement was made, indicated acceptance of liquidated damages or an early termination fee. The tenant must indicate acceptance of liquidated damages or an early termination fee by signing a separate addendum to the rental agreement containing a provision in substantially the following form:
    [ ] I agree, as provided in the rental agreement, to pay $_____ (an amount that does not exceed 2 months' rent) as liquidated damages or an early termination fee if I elect to terminate the rental agreement, and the landlord waives the right to seek additional rent beyond the month in which the landlord retakes possession.

    [ ] I do not agree to liquidated damages or an early termination fee, and I acknowledge that the landlord may seek damages as provided by law.

    (a) In addition to liquidated damages or an early termination fee, the landlord is entitled to the rent and other charges accrued through the end of the month in which the landlord retakes possession of the dwelling unit and charges for damages to the dwelling unit.

    (b) This subsection does not apply if the breach is failure to give notice as provided in s. 83.575.
    Dare I ask, how bad are the carpets? Just old, a bit dingy and stained, or are their holes, gaps, etc.?

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