Terminating a Lease Early: Landlord’s Duty to Mitigate Damage Misconception

With rising home prices and fears of a housing market crash, homeownership in the United States is down. More people than ever now choose to lease apartments, houses, and condo.

But what happens if you terminate a lease early?

Most leases are for a duration of eight to twelve months and include a termination clause. This clause establishes a tenant’s liability if he or she chooses to terminate prior to the expiration of the lease. The termination clause will usually limit the tenant’s liability to two months of rent

Related – Florida Landlord Tenant Law Governing Security Deposits

Not every lease contains a termination clause

If your lease does not have a termination clause, you are more than likely worried that the landlord will ask you to pay the entire residual amount of the lease. Florida has a statute to address the very situation of terminating a lease early.  

A landlord has four options:

  1. The landlord can retake possession and treat the lease as terminated thereby ending the tenant’s liability for rent.
  2. The landlord can retake possession and relet the premises to mitigate its damage and offset the tenant’s liability by any rent received. The tenant can also take steps to sublet the premises to mitigate any damage that the landlord may incur.  However, this mostly requires the written consent of the landlord
  3. The landlord can do nothing and hold the tenant liable for rent as it becomes due.  Unfortunately, most landlords choose this option and the tenants are shocked to learn such an option exists.
  4. Abide by the termination clause, if one exists

It is important to review your lease to determine your obligations and know whether a termination clause exists. Keep in mind that if you terminate early and your lease does not contain a termination clause, you could be potentially liable for the residual amount of the lease.

Experienced Landlord and Tenant Lawyers

Both tenants and landlords have rights that need to be protected. The Ticktin Law Group focuses on protecting the rights of our clients, no matter which role they play.

Terminating a lease early? Contact us today for a free consultation and see that we are the lawyers you want between you and your problems.

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