Everything you need to know about break clauses, Part 1

Ask Tenants blog

Everything you need to know about break clauses, Part 1

A Break clauses is part of a lease that allows either a landlord or tenant to end the lease ahead of time. If your contract doesn’t include this clause, then you can’t end the tenancy early unless your landlord agrees to it. If you decide just to walk away, you’ll still be liable for the rest of the rent to the end of the contract period.

It is essential that you as the tenant must satisfy many conditions for the break clause to take effect.

Here are the top things you have to look out for:

Form and serving the notice

Now the break clause may state the exact manner in which the notice must be served and insist on exact criteria regarding the method of service. Failure to do this will invalidate the whole process.

Therefore it is essential that you check the correct names and addresses of the landlord through the Land Registry and Companies House.

Also check the service provisions in the lease and whether they are mandatory or permissive. If in doubt, obtain proof of delivery.

Finally make sure it is crystal clear in your mind about the correct form in which your notice is required.

Timing

The important thing around timing is to make sure that there is no confusion to when the break date is and the required notice period.

Before signing a tenancy agreement read the break clause wording and seek advice, 1 year standard tenancy agreement with 2 months notice period and 6 months break clause generally means you can serve 2 month notice anytime in the year after 4 months, but it’s always recommended to read and confirm before signing on dotted line.

Conditions

Usually all the conditions surrounding break clauses are found in your contract. This must be executed to the letter or it could invalidate the entire process.

One of the most common preconditions is that the tenant must have paid all of the rent due.

This Break clauses has caused much debate over recent years due to the wording of the contract.

The best piece of advice on this front is to get it in writing from your landlord prior to the break in contract that you are up to date with all rent payments.

February 13, 2016 / by shaji

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  1. DF
    David Fester November 30th, 2015 - 1:32pm

    Hi,

    We’re currently having an e-mail exchange with our managing agent disputing the break clause in our agreement. The break clause is as follows:-

    “The Landlord agrees that the Tenant has the right to terminate the Tenancy at any time after the first six months of this Tenancy by giving the Landlord not less than two month’s prior notice in writing to end the Tenancy. ”

    Our position is that we can serve our notice period after 4 months whereas the agent is saying we can only give notice after 6 months. Which is correct?

    Thanks.

  2. AS
    Asktenants.co.uk November 30th, 2015 - 10:46pm

    Hi David,

    I am not a legal expert, but based the clause you have copied it seems you can end tenancy any time after first six months. So if your tenancy agreement starts on 1st of January you can end it on 1st of July. To end the tenancy on 1st of July you need to submit notice on 1st of May. So it seems like you can serve your notice anytime after 4 months.

    Thanks.