Landlords are increasingly including lease termination notice provisions in their leases that require a tenant to provide 60 days written notice if the tenant does not intend to renew the lease. Landlords are using these provisions to impose fees, usually a month’s rent, upon tenants who fail to provide the required notice. While the law does not prohibit such provisions, it does require that the landlord provide written notice to the tenant, not less than 15 days before the 60-day notice period, alerting the tenant to the 60 day advance notice requirement and of the consequences to the tenant of failing to provide notice when the tenant is not renewing the lease.
Some landlords are playing a game of “gotcha” with tenants by using leases with language that does removes the requirement that the landlord provide notice of the termination deadline, and consequences from late notice, to the tenant. A landlord who does not provide the notice alerting the tenant to the 60 day notice requirement and the damages that can be imposed if the tenant fails to give 60 days’ notice is not entitled to impose the resulting fee upon the tenant. Imposing the fees on a tenant without the advance notice from the landlord or removing the requirement that the landlord alert the tenant to the lease termination notice requirement violates the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act. A tenant who has had fees unlawfully imposed upon them may be able to bring claims against the landlord based upon the Florida Residential Landlord Tenant Act and the Florida Consumer Collections Practices act. In many cases these claims can be brought most efficiently and economically as part of a class action lawsuit.