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Who Can Terminate A Lease? And Can A Prior Landlord Continue To Charge Me, Even After Moving Out?


So you were offered your dream job across state – or, at least, a step in the right direction. You rationalize that moving a few hours away won’t be such a big deal, and the lease on the apartment you have been renting for eight months doesn’t have a specific termination date. So, you select a new apartment in your new city, let your landlord know that you’re moving out, and leave the next week. To your surprise, a month later you receive a hefty bill from your prior landlord claiming that you owe them additional rent. What do you do? Is this legitimate?

The answer, like so many things in the legal realm, is: it depends.

If you are a tenant or landlord in Florida, it is important that you understand the various rights and obligations that are created when you enter into a lease, particularly a lease that does not specify a termination date. Florida law dictates procedures and notification standards that both tenants and landlords are to follow when renewing or terminating a lease. Before entering into a contractual relationship, it is important to understand the basics of both who can terminate a lease, and how much notice must be given when a lease is terminated.

Who Can Terminate a Lease – and How Do You Terminate It?

A lease is a contractual document. In order to truly understand the inner workings of a contract you will have to inspect the terms found in the specific contract itself. However, generally speaking, In Florida, a lease that was created without specific terms may be properly terminated by either the tenant or the landlord. Florida law operates under the general idea that it would not be good for landlords or tenants if one side or the other was able to terminate the lease without giving proper notice to the other side. If tenants could terminate their lease with no notice to the landlord the landlord could lose valuable income that they would have made if they gave the lease to a different party, and no tenant wants to live under the fear that their landlord could terminate their lease without warning.

Accordingly, while Florida law allows either the landlord or the tenant to terminate a lease that does not have a specified end date, the terminating party must give written notice. The amount of notice one party is required to give to the other depends on how often rent is paid. If you pay rent weekly then Florida law considers your lease agreement to be a week-to-week tenancy. A week-to-week tenancy requires a minimum of seven days’ notice of termination. If the tenant pays monthly it is a month-to-month lease, with a required minimum termination notification of 15 days. A Year-to-year lease requires a minimum termination notice of sixty days.

While there could be mitigating circumstances, if a tenant moves out of the leased space without providing the required level of termination notification to the landlord, that (prior) tenant should expect that they could be on the hook to pay for additional rent charges.

Contact Moran, Sanchy & Associates

If you have a landlord-tenant dispute, contact the capable and experienced Sarasota landlord attorneys at Moran, Sanchy & Associates. Our attorneys are well-equipped to efficiently and effectively handle any issue you are facing. Contact our office to discuss your case today.