Understanding Florida’s Residential Landlord-Tenant Laws: Duration of a Lease

Florida’s state laws are very specific regarding the relationship between a landlord and tenant, the obligations of each, and what they may or may not do and when they may/may not do them insofar as various legal actions. The legal process starts with the landlord and the agreement, and ends when the lease is terminated or fulfilled. Florida law provides very specific guidelines for landlords and tenants in regards to the rental/lease agreement. This consists of basics such as the rent, the criteria for losing or returning the security deposit, who may act on the landlord’s behalf, and the duration of the lease.
In regards to the duration of lease for a residential property, the landlord and tenant should ensure that a lease agreement states the duration. However, there are cases where no written agreement ever existed or the agreement was simply lacking. Fortunately, Florida state law provides rules in the event the lease agreement is open-ended (Fla. Stat. § 83.46). To be clear, when a lease is over and a tenant continues to pay, it does not mean the lease is automatically renewed (unless the lease specifically states something to this effect). In this event, the duration of the lease is now is established by Florida law. The statute provides that if a lease does not have a duration, the lease is now considered the duration of when the rent is paid. In other words, if the rent is paid on a monthly basis, then the lease is considered a month to month lease.
It is important to note that when a lease without a specific term is terminated by landlord or tenant, the law also requires a specific time frame for notice by those who entered into this type of lease the statute (Fla. Stat. § 83.57(1-4)), specifically stating:
(1) When the tenancy is from year to year, by giving not less than 60 days’ notice prior to the end of any annual period;
(2) When the tenancy is from quarter to quarter, by giving not less than 30 days’ notice prior to the end of any quarterly period;
(3) When the tenancy is from month to month, by giving not less than 15 days’ notice prior to the end of any monthly period; and
(4) When the tenancy is from week to week, by giving not less than 7 days’ notice prior to the end of any weekly period.
These detailed statutes create the foundation for any civil litigation that may occur should one party leave the residential property in an open-ended leasing arrangement.
Again, Florida law is very specific and certainly provides for easy to manage residential leases. However, many landlords and tenants still choose to use attorneys because while the laws may seem straightforward, it remains a headache to enforce ones rights in the system. Most attorneys working in property law do this so often that it is routine, thus they can manage the process quickly and more efficiently and most importantly, protect you in the event of a dispute.

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