Can a Florida Residential Lease Exceed One Year?

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Florida tenants can enter into verbal or written leases with their landlords. The Florida Statutes Chapter 83 is the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Chapter 83 establishes the rights and duties between both parties. The Florida Statutes require landlords and tenants to provide each other with written notice of termination before they can legally terminate their landlord and tenant relationships. The amount of notice either party must provide depends on the length of their tenancy.

Florida Law

  • Under Florida law, landlords and their tenants can enter into residential lease agreements for any duration. Their lease term can exceed one year, but landlords must comply with the common law statute of frauds governing property transactions exceeding one year. For mobile home tenants and mobile park owners, the Florida Mobile Home Act applies to their tenancies. The Mobile Home Act requires landlords to enter into tenancies with their tenants for at least one year.

Statute of Frauds

  • Chapter 725 of the Florida Statutes governs the statute of frauds limitations in Florida. The common law statute of frauds requirement governs contracts and limits enforceability to certain types of contracts. Generally, contracts for land transfers, including rental agreements, are void if they cannot be performed within one year, unless they are in writing. Most states adopt the statute of frauds exceptions and require written leases for tenancies exceeding one year. Therefore, unless a tenant and his landlord enter into a written lease in Florida, the lease cannot exceed one year. Any oral lease to rent property exceeding one year is unenforceable.

Practice

  • Although landlords can use residential leases covering two-year terms, the common practice is to enter into a one-year agreement and extend or renew it after the lease expires for an additional one-year term. The Florida Statutes are silent as to the requirements of two-year leases. The statutes cover the necessary notice requirements for leases of up to one year. Generally, entering into a residential lease agreement for two years is not common practice and used mostly by commercial tenants. Commercial tenants commonly enter into leases exceeding one year and up to a life tenancy (99 years plus a life-term).

Termination

  • To terminate a residential lease agreement, Florida law requires at least 60 days written notice of termination for yearly leases. Thus, a tenant with a lease exceeding one year must provide 60 days of termination notice, but generally, Florida law does not allow landlords to require more than 60 days written termination notice for longer leases. Florida landlords can use automatic renewal lease provisions that automatically renew a lease for a specified term if either party does not provide express termination notice.

Considerations

  • Since state laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

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