Florida law doesn't have a specific statute regarding evicting a subletter. However, someone subletting from a tenant will need to honor the terms of the original tenant's lease, just as the tenant would with the landlord. If they don't, they may face eviction. If the original lease doesn't allow subletting, a tenant cannot legally rent the property to anyone else or take money for rent – doing so may cause the original tenant to get evicted.
Definition of Subletting
Subletting is when an existing tenant rents all or part of their rental property to another tenant. The person renting from that tenant is a subtenant or subletter. A subtenant usually makes rent payments to the tenant, who remains on the original lease. The tenant is still responsible for paying their landlord and maintaining the rental unit; they are the landlord to the subtenant.
A tenant may want to sublet for any number of reasons. Subletting can save them money or make it possible to keep the apartment if they want to leave for an extended period of time. If the existing tenant can't get out of their lease, but still wishes to leave, leasing to a subtenant can help recoup costs, even if they're not living in the unit. However, not every landlord will allow tenants to sublet.
Florida and Tenant's Rights
Florida statutes do not specify how to evict a subletter. That agreement depends entirely on the lease that the tenant signs. If the tenant's lease allows subletting or doesn't even mention it, the tenant can rent the premises. But if a lease specifically forbids subletting, the tenant cannot sublease the premises.
If the rental agreement terms do allow subletting with the landlord's explicit consent, the tenant must get the landlord's permission before renting the unit to another party.
Florida Landlord-Tenant Laws and Unreasonable Refusal
If the terms of the lease require a tenant to get approval from their landlord to sublease, they must do so, as they have no legal right to collect rent from a subtenant without it. Under some circumstances, Florida courts have ruled that landlords may imply consent, if they knew about the subtenant for a more extended period, and the tenant continues to collect rent from that person.
In Florida, a landlord cannot "unreasonably" refuse a subletter – they must have a good reason to do so. However, a tenant interested in subletting to another should show that the subletter is financially stable and can pay rent. If the landlord continues to deny a subletter, this may indicate an "unreasonable" act by the landlord, which means the tenant could sue them for the ability to sublet. If a landlord never replies to the request to allow a subletter to rent their property, it could show unreasonable refusal or implicit consent.
Renter Responsibility During Sublease of Tenancy
Regardless of whom they sublet to, the original tenant remains responsible for paying the rent and for fulfilling other obligations as stated in the lease. If a subletter stops paying their share of the rent, the tenant must still pay the full amount due the landlord, who can sue them for unpaid rent or evict them if they don't pay. It is the duty of the tenant to make sure the subtenant respects the lease's terms.
Tenants should make sure to use a written lease when renting to subtenants. If the subtenant breaches that agreement, the tenant can sue or evict them based on the lease terms.
Subtenant Eviction Process in Florida
Subtenants in Florida face eviction for the same reasons tenants do. When a subtenant enters into a lease agreement, they must pay rent on time; if they fail to do so, they may get a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate. If they still don't pay, the landlord can file a complaint in court to evict them.
A subtenant also faces eviction if they violate laws unrelated to rent, including allowing an unauthorized person to live on the property, committing a crime or destroying the property. For reasons like these, they can get a seven-day eviction notice for the violation.
If a subtenant remains on the property after the expiration of the lease, the landlord can evict them and also recover double the rent for each day they live on the property after the date of expiration. A lease or sublease contains information on how to serve an eviction notice, which usually takes place by mail, in person or by posting a copy of the notice to the property door.
Serving a Complaint After Giving an Eviction Notice
After serving the notice, the landlord can file a formal complaint in the Florida county court where the property is located. This costs about $185 in filing fees, with an additional $10 per tenant for each summons issued. After a county clerk notarizes the summons and complaint, a process server or the county sheriff serves the specified individuals with the complaint.
How to Sublet in the State of Florida
If a tenant's lease contains the requirement of getting the landlord's approval before subletting, they should request permission in a letter, which should be sent via certified mail. Most courts in Florida will accept this as the only proof of delivery. The letter should outline the agreement's terms and include:
- Sublet's start and end dates.
- Proposed subtenant's name and contact information, including permanent home address.
- Tenant's reason for subletting or leaving the property.
- Tenant's new address, if applicable.
- Co-tenant's written consent, if applicable.
- Copy of the sublease.
Once the landlord approves of the sublet, both the subtenant and the tenant should sign the sublease. The tenant can then get a security deposit from the subtenant.
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.