I am looking to move out of my apartment 2 months before my lease expires. There is no liquidated damages clause. I am willing to pay the 2 months rent but do not want to give landlord possession of unit, giving them a windfall essentially, while I am paying to "live" there while the landlord can rennovate or show or rent it out during these two months. Landlord will not agree to split the difference, i.e. I pay 1 month rent and surrender possession. I am moving out of state so it would be hard/expensive to return just to turn over the keys. What should I do?
The landlord has three statutorily protected choices.
FS 83.595 (3)
They can let the unit sit vacant and expect you to pay the rent as it comes due.
They can sue you if you don't pay.
FS 83.595 (2)
They can take possession of the unit without terminating the lease agreement and try to re-rent. If they get some rent from a new tenant, you would get credit for that. You would then be responsible for the difference.
FS 83.595 (1)
They can take possession of the unit, consider the lease agreement terminated, and not charge you any rent from that moment on.
You ask what to do. Well, my advice is that if you no longer are in the unit, turn the key in and surrender possession to the management. If they won't take the key, then mail it to them certified mail as soon as possible after you leave the premises. (And take pictures of the place before you leave so they don't try to charge you for damages you did not cause)
Beyond that, it is the landlord's choice as to how to proceed. You should put your intentions in writing and mail it to management. When you turn in the key, also mail them a letter stating what your new mailing address is.
If the management puts in writing that they accept your surrender of the premises or that they consider the lease agreement terminated, you may have an argument that they are choosing option (1).
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