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Residential Lease Agreement Related Questions

A residential lease is a rental agreement between a landlord and a tenant that details the rules, regulations, and terms of the living arrangement. The lease agreement usually specifies the time frame for the lease by spelling out the beginning and end dates. Many residential leases are one year leases but the length of time can vary.

Listed below are a few questions answered by real estate lawyers on residential leases.

Is there any difference in a residential lease agreement if a corporation decides to sign the lease?

The lease form used can be the same but you may need to list the persons who will occupy the residential property.

In Los Angeles, if a landlord/owner dies, can his/her estate terminate a residential lease prior to the end of the lease term?

The death will not terminate the lease unless the lease specifically provides for a termination in case of death. In fact the property passes subject to the lease and can only be terminated once the lease expires.

In Florida, can a landlord terminate a residential lease before it ends?

Should a landlord terminate a lease before the termination date and when the tenant is not in default, the landlord would be at fault. The tenant would be entitled to a return of the full deposit as well as damages. This would include the cost of temporary living accommodations and moving expenses. If the tenant chooses not to leave, the landlord would not be able to evict the tenant without a court-ordered eviction. It’s also very unlikely the court will grant this eviction to the landlord. So, if the landlord is keen to terminate the lease early, the tenant would have to agree to leave and move out.

Despite stating in a residential lease that the maintenance of the lawn and the landscaping is the tenant’s responsibility, he allowed bushes and flowering plants to die from lack of water. What legal action can the landlord take now against him?

The residential lease agreement will dictate how the landlord should proceed in a case like this. If the tenant is responsible for damage that will require expensive replacements and/or repairs, the landlord should be able to either ask the tenant for additional funds to pay for the damage or use the security deposit to pay for the repairs. Beside this, if necessary, the landlord may also use this incident as grounds for breaking the lease by stating that the tenant breached the contract.

In Florida, is a five-year residential lease legal? If the tenant were to terminate the lease before five years, can the landlord force him to pay for the remaining lease agreement?

A five-year residential lease is legal in Florida. If the tenant broke the lease before the termination date, he/she would be liable for the rent for the rest of the lease. However, this is subject to the landlord's duty to mitigate the tenant’s damages. This means that once the tenant has told the landlord about the termination, the landlord must make a good faith effort to find another tenant. Should another tenant be found, or if the landlord does not make a good faith effort, the tenant should no longer be liable for the remainder of the lease.

A residential lease becomes valid when both parties, i.e. the tenant and the landlord, or an agent who represents the landlord, sign the agreement. This lease will also inform the tenant about the details of the security deposit required. The deposit is usually taken by the landlord to pay for any damages that could occur during the tenant’s stay. In the event that the tenant decides to vacate the property before the lease expires, the deposit is usually forfeited by him/her, unless he/she comes to a new agreement with the landlord.
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