Can the Florida Supreme Court Lease Be Modified For More Than One Year? This seems to be a question we get asked quite often. The good news, is that there is a definitive answer. Have a Lease question? Need a Lease Drafted? The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC and its team of qualified and experienced West Palm Beach Landlord Tenant and Eviction Attorneys are here to help. Call us today @ 561.699.0399.
In 1950, the Supreme Court of Florida decided the case Keyes Co. v. Dade County Bar Ass’n.  This case is significant because the Court determined that a real estate licensee is permitted to complete real estate sales contracts, as long as the licensee is involved in the contract’s negotiation. Although the act described above is the practice of law, the Court allowed a limited exception because, as the Court noted, licensees are subject to strict oversight by the Florida Real Estate Commission. In the end, the Keyes decision laid the foundation for fill-in-the-blank style real estate forms, such as the Florida Realtors®/Florida Bar contract (“FAR/BAR”).
In 1992, the Court approved three fill-in-the-blank residential lease agreements for use by non-attorneys. This number has since been reduced to two contracts: the Residential Lease for Single Family Home or Duplex (“RLHD-3”) and the Residential Lease for Apartment or Unit in Multi-Family Rental Housing (other than a Duplex) including a Mobile Home, Condominium, or Cooperative (“RLAUCC-1”). Although non-attorneys may use these fill-in the-blank leases to assist a landlord or tenant (“parties”) in completing one of these lease agreements, only parties and their attorneys are authorized to modify the leases in any way. The primary limitation of using the RLHD-3 and the RLAUCC-1 is the mandate that the lease duration not extend beyond one year; however, parties to the transaction and their attorneys may be able to legally vary from this rule.
Q: Who can modify a Florida Supreme Court lease?
A: Parties to the lease agreement and their attorneys may modify the Court-approved leases. Non-attorneys and non-parties are not authorized to make any modifications to the Court-approved leases.
Q: Can parties to a lease extend the lease duration of the Court-approved leases for longer than one year?
A: Yes. The landlord and tenant and their attorneys may use the Court-approved leases for durations longer than one year, as long as the modification is property executed. They may also create addenda for the Court-approved leases as well.
Q: What must a party to the lease do to extend the duration of the agreement beyond one year?
A: A party to the contract should contact his or her own private attorney for information pertaining to the proper execution of leases extending beyond one year. They may also refer to Florida Statute § 689.01. This essentially means that the Lease must be signed by the Landlord in the presence of two (2) witnesses.
Q: Can a real estate licensee prepare addenda to a Court-approved lease form?
A: No. Non-attorneys and non-parties may not create addenda for, or modify, any leases, including attorney created leases, for third parties. Doing so is unauthorized practice of law.
Q: Must a landlord and tenant use the Court-approved lease form?
A: No. Parties to a lease agreement may prepare their own lease or have an attorney draft a lease for them.
 Keyes Co. v. Dade County Bar Ass’n, 46 So.2d 605 (1950).
 Id. at 606.
 Supreme Court of Florida, Nos. 77,675 & 77,737, July 2, 1992.
 Supreme Court of Florida, No. SC09-250, April 15, 2010.
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See also Florida Statutes:
689.01 How real estate conveyed.—No estate or interest of freehold, or for a term of more than 1 year, or any uncertain interest of, in or out of any messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments shall be created, made, granted, transferred or released in any other manner than by instrument in writing, signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses by the party creating, making, granting, conveying, transferring or releasing such estate, interest, or term of more than 1 year, or by the party’s lawfully authorized agent, unless by will and testament, or other testamentary appointment, duly made according to law; and no estate or interest, either of freehold, or of term of more than 1 year, or any uncertain interest of, in, to, or out of any messuages, lands, tenements or hereditaments, shall be assigned or surrendered unless it be by instrument signed in the presence of two subscribing witnesses by the party so assigning or surrendering, or by the party’s lawfully authorized agent, or by the act and operation of law. No seal shall be necessary to give validity to any instrument executed in conformity with this section. Corporations may execute any and all conveyances in accordance with the provisions of this section or ss. 692.01 and 692.02.Google+