What happens when you fail to give timely notice that you are moving out?

We want to move when our lease ends, 05/01. But we just found the lease and it states a 60 days notice. It is now 03/10 so we are 10 days late (I just e-mailed the landlord) and tomorrow we will send the official letter in the mail (so maybe 15 days late). What is the worst that can happen? The landlord wants an extra 15 days rent? We can’t stay another year we are leaving the state.

Asked on March 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, if a lease provides for a notice period, then that notice period must be provided. What will happen is that the notice period will be deemed to have started to run when you provided the notice, so you would be held to the lease for the length of the period from then. For example: if you provided notice on 3/10, then 60 days would be May 9 (I think; I don't have a calendar open). That means you'd be on the lease until that date. Complicating it, notice is usually given when received, so you'd have to factor in the extra mailing time.

However, that's just a general rule about notice. For what will specifically happen in this case, you need to look at the lease and *exactly* what it says. For example, it's possible the lease says that it will automatically renew--for another year--unless nonrenewal notice is provided at least 60 days in advance. If that's the case, it may be that your late renewal has obligated you for another year.

So look at what the lease says, and based on its language, you will almost certainly be responsible for some additioinal rent--possibly 10 - 15 days; possibly an extra month; and possibly, a whole year. The lease, as a contract, and its terms will control.

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