What to do about a rent increase and monies paid in advance?

I recently vacated a commercial space following my 5 year lease and relocated to a new office location. I have taken many photos of the space and can prove that it was very well maintained and in fact improved upon since my lease was initiated. Upon initial agreement, I paid first/last month and 1 month’s security as specified in the agreement. Prior to end of the lease, I received a threatening letter from the landlord’s attorney indicating that I was responsible for another $1000 since rent has increased over the 5 years and that it must be paid to avoid further action. As I interpret the landlord, tenant laws, the monies that paid in advance should have covered that increase and I should not have been charged further.

Asked on November 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It's not necessarily the case that the advance monies covered the increase. Look at what your total rent due and owing was over the five years, including any legitimate increases; substract from that the total amount you paid in or for rent during those five years. Include in your total of how much you paid the first and last month's rent. Now compare the remaining balance if any--i.e. that amount by which you allegedly underpaid rent: if it's the case that, including first and last month's, you paid less than you should have, the landlord may take the difference from your security deposit. And if the security deposit was insufficient to cover that difference, then the landlord could proceed against you for the remainder.

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