If you're considering subletting your rental, do so through your landlord and talk to a legal professional if you aren't sure about your rights
If you have to move out before your lease is up, don't fret. There are legal ways you can avoid paying the rent when you won't be living there.
One such avenue is subletting. Florida law doesn't exactly prohibit or allow subletting, so it usually depends on your specific lease agreement with your landlord.
Before you start looking into Airbnb or selling all of your possessions to pay for the extra rent, let's look at how to approach subletting in Florida.
Read your lease agreement
The first step you must take is to check your lease agreement. Leases usually include a clause about subletting – whether it's allowed and the procedures you must take. You usually can't sublet without informing your landlord and getting their approval. Sometimes they'll have another subletting agreement for whoever will be taking the lease over.
If you don't consult your lease agreement, you may be violating contractual terms you agreed to. Not every lease includes a sublet clause. Alternatively, if you fail to let your landlord know what you're doing, they could fine you or take legal action.
Also remember that your landlord has certain obligations under the lease and that if they don't keep up with these tasks, you could terminate the rental agreement in some cases. An example would be if your landlord hasn't repaired the heater after you've let them know several times that it's not working. Landlords have an obligation to ensure that your rental unit is safe and that everything is functioning how it should.
If your landlord has been slacking and you think they are violating the lease agreement, you may not have to deal with subletting and can end the lease. It is always best to talk with a legal professional before moving forward.
Contact your landlord
After you've read your lease agreement and found that you can sublet, it's time to inform your landlord. You'll need to send a written notice sent through certified mail, in case you need to provide proof of delivery to a court.
Your written notice should include:
- The term of the sublet
- The name of the subtenant
- The subtenant's contact information
- Your new address
- Your reason for the sublet
If you live with other people, you may also need proof of their consent when writing to your landlord.
Remember that you need to send this at least thirty days before you plan to move out. If you don't hear from your landlord within thirty days of sending the notice, you can assume that they consent.
Dealing with a rejection
In some cases, your landlord may deny your request to sublet. And, while Florida has no regulations about when they can or can't deny your request, there are laws in place so that your landlord can't deny your request for just any reason.
Reasonable reasons for denial could include:
- the subtenant has a poor credit history
- they are unemployed or don't make enough money to cover the rent
Unreasonable examples would be motives related to discrimination, or if the landlord has no reason at all for denying the request.
Your best bet is to discuss any withholding of consent from your landlord with a lawyer who specializes in tenant or landlord issues.
You're still responsible
If you sublet your apartment, you're still going to be responsible for fulfilling certain aspects of your lease. This is why it's important to sublet to someone who is trustworthy, and won't skip out on their rent or responsibilities.
Despite any sublease that is agreed to, the original lease agreement between you and your landlord is still technically in effect. So, if the subtenant doesn't follow through on their agreement, you may be required to pay for any missed rent or for any damages that this person causes.
One way you can try to protect yourself from this scenario is to collect a security deposit from your subtenant. And make sure that a sublease document is always signed to make it official.
Get professional legal help
If you're unsure about your rights under your lease, or if your landlord is being unreasonable or violating your agreement, it's best to consult with a legal professional. This way, you can ensure that Florida state laws are followed in your approach.
Our team at PeytonBolin would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your rights and options. We're familiar with the ins and outs of Florida's tenant laws and can ensure you're doing everything you can to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.