Subleases and Sublease Evictions in Florida
Florida statutory law does not expressly prohibit or allow subleasing. Most of the time, the lease agreement will determine whether the tenant can sublease. If the lease agreement is verbal, the parties will have a more difficult time establishing whether subleasing is permitted.
The first and most important thing to do is to review the lease agreement, if its memorialized in writing and check if it contains any clause regarding subletting. From a landlord’s perspective, it is good practice to include a clause regarding subletting in the lease agreement, providing for at least the landlord’s consent prior to subletting.
Most of the time, lease clauses require the tenant to inform the landlord of the intention to sublease and to obtain the landlord’s approval. Failing to respect the steps required by the lease contract will expose a tenant to the risk, and a landlord may be permitted to pursue evicting the tenant. That is, a tenant subletting in violation of a contract that prohibits subleasing, or without obtaining the landlord’s consent when required, gives the landlord the right to bring an eviction action for violation of the lease contract.
Florida landlords have the right to forbid a primary tenant from subleasing the property to another person unless subletting has been specifically agreed upon in the original lease contract.
If a tenant has a subtenant in violation of the lease contract, and the landlord wishes to evict the subtenant there are specific steps to follow.
First, the landlord should evict the main tenant.
Like with any other eviction, the landlord must start by giving notice. In this case, the landlord must give a 7-day notice, unless some other time period is specified in the Lease, in accordance with Florida statute 83.56 to notify the tenant of the breach of the lease. If the landlord knows the names of the subtenants, they can be named in the same notice. If the subtenants are unknown, the landlord can address the notice to the tenant and “all other in possession” or “any unknown tenant”.
When the 7 days expire, the landlord can then file an eviction action in the appropriate county court. Again, if the names of the subtenants are known, the landlord should name the subtenant together with the main tenant as defendants in the action. If not, the language “all other in possession” or “any unknown tenant” should be added.
If the landlord knows the subtenants have a sublease agreement with the main tenant, these facts should be added in the complaint. The Complaint should specify as well that the sublease of the property was not allowed under the lease contract between the landlord and the tenant.
If the complaint is prepared correctly, and all the facts are explained so that the Court can have an overall understanding of the situation—i.e., the tenant violated the lease by subletting the property when the lease specifically prohibited it—the landlord will be successful and both the main tenant and the subtenants will be evicted.
To be sure of a successful outcome, landlords should rely on the legal advice of an experienced and knowledgeable landlord tenant lawyer. The landlord tenant attorneys at Edelboim Lieberman Revah Oshinsky routinely handle these types of situations and can efficiently help landlords in prosecuting evictions.