We frequently receive inquiries from potential clients concerning whether the landlord is allowed to charge the two-month early termination fee / liquidated damages which are contained in the addendum to the Lease, if the tenant needs to move out of the unit due to the landlord’s failure to maintain the leased premises. If the tenant follow the proper steps, the tenant can avoid being responsible for these charges or penalties.
Florida Lease Early Termination Fee
Starting in 2004, Florida landlord were allowed to charge an early termination fee (also known as liquidated damages) not to exceed two months of rent. In order to charge the early termination fee, a separately signed lease addendum is required to be attached to the lease which contains the specific language provided for by Florida Statute 83.595. If the tenant agrees to the early termination fee of up to two months’ rent, then the landlord may charge this amount in the event the tenant breaches the lease.
However, many tenants reach out to us with the question, do I have to pay the early termination fee/liquidated damages if I am forced to move out due to water damage or mold? The simple answer is no… so long as you otherwise comply with the other important parts of Florida Landlord/Tenant Act. In order to terminate your lease in Florida
How to Terminate Your Lease Without Being Responsible for the Early Termination Fee
First, before you can terminate your lease without having to pay the early termination fee or liquidated damages, you need to properly serve a legally valid seven-day notice upon the Landlord. The seven-day notice has to contain specific legal language as required by law and must state in sufficient detail exactly what the defects are in the leased premises. For more detailed information on how to do this properly, please review our blog article on this topic. Once you properly serve your seven-day notice and the landlord fails to substantially resolve the issue within the seven-day time frame, the landlord is considered the party who breached the lease. At this point, the tenant can serve a second notice informing the landlord that the tenant wishes to terminate the lease and be sure to provide a move out date in such letter so the landlord knows when you are leaving. It is always important to include your forwarding address in the termination notice because the landlord needs to know where to send your security deposit or any other correspondence.
It is not uncommon for landlords and management company staff to inform you that you still have to pay the early termination fee if you are moving out before the end of your lease. However, this is simply untrue. If the tenant properly gives the landlord a seven-day notice and terminates the lease in writing after the seven days expires, the tenant is not responsible for the 2-month early termination fee/liquidated damages. The landlord may, at this point, attempt to collect the early termination fee by charging it against any security deposit being held by the landlord, but this would be improper. The landlord is still required to furnish the tenant within 30 days of the tenant vacating the premises, a certified letter informing the tenant that the landlord intends to impose a claim upon the tenant’s security deposit (which includes the landlord claim of the right to an early termination fee). If the landlord does this, then you may be entitled to recover your full security deposit in court plus the reasonable cost of hiring an attorney.
Now Handling Cases Throughout the State of Florida
We represent clients in the following cities of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Davie, Plantation, Weston, Miramar, Sunrise, Coconut Creek, Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Margate, Parkland, Deerfield Beach, Oakland Park, Hallandale, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Cooper City, Tamarac, Wilton Manors, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale, Lighthouse Point, Southwest Ranches, Hillsboro Beach, West Park and Pembroke Park.
We also represent clients in Miami-Dade county in the following cities: Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah, Homestead, Coral Gables, Doral, North Miami, Aventura, North Miami Beach, Aventura, North Miami Beach, South Miami, Miami Gardens, Key Biscayne, Sunny Isles Beach, Pinecrest, Miami Lakes, Opa Locka, Cutler Bay, Sweetwater, Palmetto Bay, Miami Springs, Miami Shores, Florida City, Surfside, Bay Harbor Islands, North Bay Village.
In Palm Beach County, we represent clients from South Bay, Golf, Manalapan, Briny Breezes, Greenacres, Magonia Park, Hypoluxo, Highland Beach, Lark Clarke Shores, Belle Glade, Pahokee, Glen Ridge, Tequesta, Atlantis, Loxahatchee Groves, Palm Beach Shores, Haverhill, Gulf Stream, South Palm Beach, Cloud Lake, Juno Beach, Palm Springs, North Palm Beach, Wellington, Lake Park, Lantana, Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, Riviera Beach, Boynton Beach, Jupiter Inlet, Ocean Ridge, Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Delray Beach.
We are now accepting cases throughout the State of Florida in cities such as Tampa / St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Orlando, and Naples / Ft. Myers areas.