Breaking a rental lease in florida.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Boca Raton, FL

We are relocating because of school zoning issues and sent the landlord a certified letter letting her know what our intentions are and that we will be vacating by Aug. 1. Our lease is through Sept. 30. We paid 1st, last and security deposit. In essence, if the landlord did not agree to let us break the lease, we'd be liable for Aug rent. In light of this, the landlord quickly listed the home for rent as well as for sale and 10 days later, she has a contract for purchase. She listed it to be available for move in by July 15. If she has a contract and we're out by July 15th, wouldn't she have to pay us not only our security deposit, but a month and a half rent for that has already been paid to her, as we will have to be out by the 15th and she has already sold the home?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Stephen P. Orchard

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    Answered . For the most part I agree with the answers above. I would add a practical view here (part of our job is to act as counselors as well as advocates). You do not want any grey areas here - you have a school aged child. If you have not already tried, you should speak with your landlord about this situation and see what type of common ground you can find. Each of you have rights, and you should try and find a resolution without resorting to the court system if at all possible. Just be sure to continue the habit of keeping correspondence in writing, even if the writing is after a verbal conversation which just confirms the substance of the conversation. Best of luck.

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  2. David Chastain Agee

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    Answered . If the landlord agreed to accept surrender of the property and release you from your obligations as of a date certain, then the landlord cannot demand rent past that point. If the landlord did not express in writing the landlord's intent to relinquish you from your lease obligation, the landlord is within his or her rights to lease the property on account of the leasee (YOU) and the sale of the property would not extinguish the lease or your obligation to pay rent. See Generally Kanter v. Safran, 68 So. 2d 553. You really should speak to an attorney who can give you a legal opinion as to whether the landlord mutually released you or whether you are still obligated for rent.

  3. Carol Lynne Zimmerly

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    Answered . You don't have to be out by July 15th. You have to be out by the end of July.
    The landlord can't begin to force you out until August 1, and she would have to file a lawsuit on that day.
    The lawsuit would take weeks before the sheriff would come to remove you.

    If you wanted to negotiate, you could ask her to return your security deposit and last month's rent in return for the keys on July 15th. If you are not ready to move, then tell her you will be staying until the end of July.

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