Ending a Florida lease agreement early can bring a wide range of problems to landlords and property managers, especially if it happened because of an unjustified reason.

Knowing where ending a rental agreement is valid and where it isn't can be complicated at first, so we want to help you navigate the topic easily. Here, you'll learn when a tenant can break a lease in Florida legally, what the lease termination notice requirements are, and other relevant information.

Notice Requirements

According to the Florida statutes (Title VI - Chapter 83 - Section 57), tenants must provide written notice to their landlord before ending the rental agreement. The amount of notice will depend on the type of lease they have:

  • Weekly Lease - Seven days of notice.
  • Monthly Lease - 15 days of notice.
  • Quarterly Lease - 30 days of notice.
  • Yearly Lease - 60 days of notice.

If the tenant doesn't provide proper notice to the landlord, the latter may seek legal action or penalty payments.

Can Tenants Break a Lease Legally in Florida?

There are a few scenarios where a tenant in Florida can legally break a lease without any penalties. It's important for both parties to understand all the conditions that need to be met in order to legally break the lease.

Generally speaking, tenants may be able to break the lease early if the landlord violates its terms continually. Some common scenarios include:

  • Raising rent illegally during a fixed-term lease.
  • Not providing repairs to the unit.
  • Changing locks without the tenant's consent.
  • and more.

In most lease agreement documents, there should be language explaining how the parties involved can handle violations.

Below is a list of other common cases where a tenant may vacate a rental unit without penalty.

Active Military Service

Also known as "Active Military Duty," this clause applies to tenants protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The SCRA protects any active service members who get changed to another station permanently or are relocated due to deployment.

This scenario applies to "servicemembers" only, including members of the armed forces and commissioned corps of:

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • The National Guard
  • The Public Health Service

In order to break a lease under the SCRA's protection, tenants must:

Deliver a written notice to their landlord explaining their "Active Military Duty" status with an attached copy of the deployment/change of station orders. If the tenant can't prove they signed the lease before entering active duty or that they will remain on duty for a minimum of 90 days, they won't be able to break the lease early.

Early Termination Clause

An Early Termination Clause establishes the terms that tenants need to follow in order to break a lease early. It also points out all the consequences they may experience if they do it.

It's vital for landlords to have an Early Termination Clause in their agreement, as it will protect them further if the tenant decides to move out of the rental unit.

Unhabitable Rental Property

There are certain safety standards that all landlords in Florida must comply with to house a new tenant legally in their unit. If there are any health and safety violations within the unit, the tenant has the legal right to request repairs in a timely manner.

However, if the landlord fails to provide these repairs, the tenant would be "constructively evicted," which means they would no longer have legal obligations under the lease, according to Florida landlord-tenant law.

Landlord Harassment

If the tenant considers they're being harassed by their landlord, they could try to use that as justification for ending the lease. Some valid reasons include:

  • Changing the locks to lock out the tenant.
  • Entering the property without providing the required 12 hours of written notice.

Additional Reasons That May Allow Tenants to Break the Lease

The following is a list of other reasons that the tenant may use to break a lease if they get a court's approval:

  • The landlord used an illegal or unenforceable contract.
  • There weren't any reasonable accommodations made for people with qualified disabilities.
  • The landlord didn't disclose known defects of the property.

Unjustifiable Reasons

Finally, we have a few other scenarios that, while the tenant may use them as a reason to break a lease, they may not be enough justification to prevent penalties. These include:

  • Upgrading or downgrading a property.
  • Moving to another place to be closer to family members or a close friend.
  • Moving in with a partner.
  • Relocating for new jobs or schools.
  • Buying a new property.

In these cases, it's best for tenants to negotiate with their landlord to see if they can reach a mutual termination agreement with fewer penalties.

Delivering a Lease Notice

There are three legal methods tenants can consider to deliver a notice letter:

  • Delivering a written copy of the notice in person.
  • Using certified mail to deliver the copy.
  • Leaving the written notice at the front door of the property.

Florida tenants must make sure they're complying with the required notice periods if they want to avoid paying more penalties in the future.


Yes, there are a few penalties tenants can experience if they break a lease in Florida for an unjustified reason. Some of these penalties include the following:

  • The landlord can withhold part of the security deposit.
  • The tenant may have to pay the remainder of the rent.
  • The landlord may hire a debt collection agency if the tenant refuses to pay what they owe.

Some cases may allow tenants to save a bit of money after breaking a lease, as long as they follow all the guidelines and provisions established in the lease agreement.

First, the tenant can make a reasonable effort to find a new one. If they can find a suitable tenant for the property, they could negotiate lower penalty fees with their landlord.

Moreover, it's important for both parties to review the terms of the lease to know what to do to handle early terminations.

Some tenants try to negotiate with their landlord to come up with a mutual termination agreement, and while this is a good strategy, the outcome will ultimately depend on what the landlord answers.

In any case, the best way to prevent penalties for breaking a lease is to encourage the tenant to talk to the landlord as soon as possible and under the required notice period.

Breaking a lease at the last minute will likely cause problems for everyone, so we recommend avoiding this scenario completely.

How Can a Landlord Enforce Penalties and Prevent Tenants from Breaking a Lease Early?

The key to a healthier leasing relationship is drafting an excellent, detailed lease agreement that includes an "Early Termination Clause." Establishing all the necessary provisions surrounding early terminations will ensure that both parties are better prepared if that moment comes.

Make sure you include the necessary notice period for breaking a lease, as well as the consequences of not notifying you on time. Once the tenant signs the document, they have a legal responsibility to follow these terms.

Now, if the tenant violates the lease terms in any way, you could take your case to a small claims court to get compensation for your lost money.

You must ensure you're being as clear as possible about the consequences of not following the early lease termination guidelines. If you already have an Early Termination Clause in your lease, then make sure to review all the provisions you included before taking any legal action.

Moreover, you can talk to your tenant to see if you can reach a mutual agreement that benefits both parties. If you have a good relationship with your tenant, then you may get them to stay until the lease ends or find another solution together.

Landlord's Responsibility to Find a New Tenant

Many states in the US require landlords to make reasonable efforts to re-rent their property when a tenant moves out early. However, this doesn't apply to Florida.

What does this mean for landlords? In essence, tenants will be liable for any rent owed, as the landlord doesn't have a legal obligation to mitigate their potential losses.


A tenant can sublet the property as long as they get permission from their landlord. Some landlords include subletting clauses in the lease, but if they didn't, then the tenant must ask for permission before doing anything.

It's vital to note that, if the lease doesn't have any subletting clauses, the landlord has the right to refuse the tenant's request.


Understanding Florida landlord-tenant laws will help you prevent most misunderstandings and problems with your tenant. Even though the case may vary depending on the person, you will be able to negotiate with your tenant if you laid out the terms for early terminations in your lease.


When Can a Tenant Terminate a Lease in Florida?

Tenants can terminate a lease when it ends by deciding not to renew it. However, if they want to break it early, they should follow the provisions established in the lease and provide their landlord with proper notice.

Does Breaking a Lease Hurt a Tenant's Credit in Florida?

Breaking a lease could affect the tenant's credit if they didn't pay all the associated costs. Landlords who decide to hire a debt collection service could make a tenant's credit score drop, which will make it harder for them to find new rentals in the future.

Can Landlords Break a Lease Early and Evict Their Tenant?

Yes, but they need to provide a good reason. Typically, landlords evict tenants for not paying rent, violating lease terms continually, or doing illegal activities within the property.

What Does Florida Law Say About Notice Requirements for Terminating a Rental Agreement?

Tenants are required to send proper notice to their landlords before breaking the lease. The amount of notice will depend on the type of lease:

  • Weekly Lease - Seven days of notice.
  • Monthly Lease - 15 days of notice.
  • Quarterly Lease - 30 days of notice.
  • Yearly Lease - 60 days of notice.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!