ONE RESIDENT VACATING AND OTHERS REMAINING
When a lease is signed by two or more residents, what happens at the end of the lease when one resident gives notice to the manager that he or she will be vacating, and in fact does subsequently vacate? What if no notice is provided by one of the original residents, but it appears that a particular resident has clearly abandoned the premises some time during the original lease period? In either case, is the departing resident still responsible for lease obligations beyond the original lease term? Is the manager able to enter into a new lease with the remaining resident(s) and/or replacement resident(s)? What happens to the security deposit?
The Landlord/Tenant Act neither contains any specific provisions governing a change in parties after the original lease period, nor does the statute specifically indicate that the security deposit “stays with the property”.
If a month-to-month tenancy is created after the lease expiration date, a good argument can be made that all the original residents are still financially responsible for the ongoing tenancy. However, some judges may not hold this view, particularly if the departing resident gave written notice of vacating, and in fact vacated, prior to the original lease expiring. If a new lease is entered into with the remaining resident(s) and/or possibly even additional resident(s), then a change of parties from the original lease has occurred, and this is not a true “renewal” lease. If one of the original residents has apparently vacated for good but never provided any notice, we advise managers to be very careful before adding new parties to a subsequent lease. The manager should be very clear that the original resident is gone for good and that none of that resident’s personal property is still on the premises.
At the point where the manager contemplates a new lease involving a change of parties from the original lease, we recommend that a new security deposit be collected from the resident(s) on the new lease, and that an accounting take place on the original security deposit consistent with Florida Statute 83.49, with any refund check made payable to all original residents. If no new lease has been signed, but one or more of the departing resident(s) from the original lease demand a return of the security deposit, we recommend trying to collect a new deposit from the remaining resident(s) and making the accounting as described above. If the remaining resident(s) are unwilling or unable to put up a new deposit, then we recommend non-renewing the existing month-to-month tenancy, and to then make an accounting for the deposit by following the provisions of Florida Statute 83.49 with regard to all residents on the original lease.
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- THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE EXAMINED PART 2
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- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION AND THE FULL UNIT
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