Tenancy Agreement Break Clauses

What are break clauses in Tenancy Agreements?

A break clause is a clause in a tenancy agreement that provides both tenant and landlord the opportunity to terminate the tenancy agreement early during the fixed-term (e.g. a 12 month contract gets terminated after 6 months). Essentially, either party can “break” the tenancy before the fixed end date, as long as the correct procedures are followed.

However, it’s important to note, even if the tenancy does include a break clause, the Housing Act 1988 prevents the court from awarding possession to a landlord until six months into the tenancy has passed from the beginning of the agreement, unless the landlord is using one of the seventeen statutory grounds for possession, in which case the landlord has rights to evict the tenant and should serve a Section 8 Notice. So, break clauses typically stipulate that they can only be enforced 6 months into the fixed term of a tenancy, no earlier!

Here is an example of a break clause (please do NOT use it without seeking legal advice):

7.9 Tenancy Break Clause
7.9.1 In the event that the Tenant shall desire to terminate the tenancy hereby created at or at any time after the end of the first six months thereof he shall give the Landlord not less than one months previous notice in writing of such desire and shall up to the time of such determination pay the rent and observe and perform the agreements and obligations on the tenants part.

7.9.2 If the Landlord shall desire to terminate the tenancy hereby created at or at any time after the end of the first six months thereof he shall give the Tenant not less than two months previous notice in writing of such desire then immediately upon the expiration of such notice the tenancy hereby created shall cease and be void.

Serving notice to break the tenancy

The landlord is required to provide at least two months notice to the tenant if they wish to enforce the break clause by serving a Section 21 Notice. So for example, if the tenancy starts on 1st of January, the landlord should serve notice by 1st May (i.e. tenant should have received notice by then), which means the tenant should vacate on July 1st (6 months from when the tenancy began).

If the tenant wants to enforce the break clause, they must also give 2 months notice to the landlord by serving a written notice, known as a tenancy surrender notice. It’s also worth noting that if the tenancy wishes to end the tenancy on or after the fixed term, they only need to provide one months’ notice- that is their statutory right.

Why the break clause is used

Break clauses really are about flexibility for both tenant and landlord. They provide landlords/tenants the opportunity to break a tenancy if personal circumstances change. This could include scenarios such as relocating for work related purposes, changes financial circumstances, or even because the relationship between the tenant and landlord turned sour.

The reason I don’t use break clauses

I personally don’t use break clauses in my tenancy agreements, the reason being is that they don’t seem convincingly reliable (from what I’ve read and been told), which makes them kind of scary to me. Let me explain…

Assuming the landlord is relying on the break clause by serving their tenant with a notice- if the tenant refuses to vacate and remains in the property, the landlord will need to issue court proceedings so they can get a order possession from the Judge. The Judge will then look at the break clause to see if it is valid. If the Judge is not happy with the clause the landlord will not get possession.

Why wouldn’t the clause be valid? The break clause is one of those clauses that can be drafted and interpreted in many ways (apparently). If the clause is clearly drafted and equally fair to both parties, the landlord will have a better chance of getting possession. However, if the clause is poorly drafted and deemed unfair (e.g. if it is in the favour of the landlord), it is very unlikely that it will be enforceable.

To be fully enforceable in law, break clauses need careful drafting with a high degree of legal expertise – these agreements should be drafted by a solicitor or barrister, or obtained from a known reliable published source. But ultimately, every clause in a tenancy agreement needs to be deemed as “fair”

The preferred alternative to a break clause

Personally, I’d rather just issue my tenant with a 6 month tenancy agreement (that’s the minimum term allowed). That way, if the tenant or landlord wishes to end the tenancy, they can do without relying on a break clause. But also, and perhaps more crucially, if the tenant refuses to vacate after a valid possession notice (Section 21) is served by the landlord, the Judge should grant possession immediately, no questions ask, because the tenancy’s fixed term would have.

In the event that after the 6 months both parties are happy to continue the tenancy, then the tenancy can either roll onto a Periodic Tenancy or a new tenancy agreement can be issued.

Issuing a 6 month tenancy just seems much safer and reliable because there’s little margin for error in comparison.

Mutually terminating the tenancy early

If at any point during the fixed term both landlord and tenant agree to mutually terminate the tenancy (for whatever reason), whether there’s a break clause or not, the normal procedure is for the tenant to vacate all his/her possessions and hand back the keys.

In the event that the tenant wants to surrender the tenancy without the landlords agreement, the tenant will be contractually obliged to pay rent for the entire length of the fixed term. Similarly, if the landlord wants the tenant to vacate early while the tenant has no interest, the landlord cannot reposes the property early without grounds for eviction.

Here’s a blog post which covers many of the legal methods of terminating a tenancy.

Do you use break clauses?

Do you use a break clause in your tenancy? If so, I’d be interested to see what it says. Would you mind copy/pasting it? Also, has anyone ever enforced the break clause?

102 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 52 - 102 comments (out of 102)
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David 11th March, 2015 @ 11:54

@hrice

I did a long post and it did not get posted, just posting this to test the site is working.

If so I will add advice

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David 11th March, 2015 @ 12:38

@hrice

Don't worry; things may not be as bad as you think.

First off it does not matter that terms of a tenancy changed, what matters is that the deposit was protected in an authorised scheme and that you were informed in the proper way where it is protected using the a format that includes all the information the Government says you should be told (the prescribed information or PI)

If that has not happened your Landlord can be fined up to 3 times the deposit as a penalty and you get your deposit back.

Next we come to the eviction, for now he has given you the notice in the tenancy agreement, but to be honest this is irrelevant as when it expires you can say "sorry but you need to serve me with a statutory eviction notice under the Housing Act (a Section 21 notice).

A landlord cannot issue a S21 notice if a deposit has not been protected nor if s/he has not provided the prescribed information in accordance with the Housing Act 2004 and the Prescribed Information Order Act 2007. Still, no need to tell them that NOW.

The trick is to allow all notices to expire and then tell the Landlord why you will not be going. So you wait the 30 days, then you tell them you need a proper notice under the housing act which requires 2 months’ notice.

Now that notice has to be done in a certain way, basically he needs to give you at least 2 clear months’ notice and that notice needs to expire on after a rent due date.

So if he gives you a S21 notice on March 15th it will expire on May 15th, but if you tell him on the 15th that you will not be leaving and pay him another month’s rent, then unless he is incredibly quick he will not be able to issue the notice until after March 16th which means it needs to have an expiry date of June 15th. If he issues a notice after March 16th but with a May 15th possession date, it will be invalid.

If he gets this wrong, no need to tell him, just wait until the two months’ notice expires and tell him the notice was invalid, he will then need to issue another valid notice. So if he issues that notice after May 16th it will have to expire on or after August 15th.

What is critical here is that you continue paying your rent. Otherwise he can issue eviction under Section 8.

Of course all of this assumes that he has first complied with the Law on Deposit Protection and giving you the prescribed information. If not, again you let the notices expire first and only then tell him it is not valid (which gives you time to find a new place).

If he hasn't protected your deposit and given you the prescribed information then it is him who is in for a tough time! He will have to protect it and issue you with the PI before he can issue an S21, but there is no need to make it easy for him. You do not have to answer your door, do not sign anything. Do not allow him to come in without a mutually AGREED appointment, that means if he says he is coming next Friday at 6pm you can say “sorry that in not convenient” no need to give him a convenient date.

If he turns up that can be Harassment, which can get him into REAL trouble. If he tries to evict you or changes the locks you can have the Police come witness your own locksmith getting you back in and he can get in further trouble. Any attempts to harass should be reported to the local Council and Police, you should record or video yourself and whoever harasses you. Always keep calm, never raise your voice, just be reasonable.

Now this is likely to piss him off so best to get a reference from him immediately, ask him now to provide you with a written reference to facilitate your attempt to find a new place.

Once you have that you can then contact the Council about the repairs, they will appoint a housing officer who will contact him. Again this is just to add pressure and may delay the S21 depending on repairs needed.

Anyone who does a revenge eviction like this deserves everything they get and in my experience such scumbags are lousy at detail like complying with the law.

So to summarise, here is your action plan

1. Ask for written reference
2. Check the Shelter website for the places where you can check whether your deposit has been protected.
3. Check all paperwork you have been given to see if you have been given details of deposit protection (not from the deposit holder, but from him and in the prescribed way.
4. On March 15th in the evening, tell him you will not be leaving and pay the next month’s rent, tell him you have been advised by Shelter that you are entitled to a statutory eviction notice that complies with Section 21 of the Housing Act 2004
5. Do not facilitate him giving you such a notice, do not sign anything.
6. Make sure when you get a S21 notice that it is valid, the dates are important, the wording is important, for example it should say "on or after" the date and that date must be at least 2 months clear from date served to date of possession, as detailed above.
7. If he has not complied with deposit, wait until S21 notice expires and tell him you will not be moving as the notice is invalid, you do not have to tell him why. Wait until his lawyer asks you why it is not valid and even then, only give them minimal information. E.g. Say "the dates do not comply" but do not mention the deposit if it has not been protected. Let him issue another S21 (with correct dates) and when it expires tell him it is invalid and you will challenge it in Court if he proceeds.

If he has not protected the deposit you should let him take you to Court and issue a counter claim with a N244 form and an N1 to claim the 3x deposit and deposit back. Even if he protects it now, he is liable and you should go after him for that, ideally before you leave.

As I said, he deserves all of the above because revenge eviction is a disgusting practice.

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Melvyn 13th April, 2015 @ 17:40

I arrived here via Google... Whilst I appreciate the article for its factual content I do find it rather heartless that you would prefer no to use a break clause and instead just boot out the tenants after 6 months. Contrary to popular belief there are good tenants around many of which who are looking to somewhere they can call home on a long term basis. From a tenants perspective under those conditions I would not entertain conducting business with a landlord displaying an attitude like that! Thankfully there is sufficient supply as I am in no doubt that there are as many 'bad' landlords as there are 'bad' tenants.

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Julie Ogbeide 5th June, 2015 @ 14:07

Need help, due to end of marriage I had to opt for renting after the sale of our married home, initially I took out a 1 yr lease, I didn't really understand it, read through the contract assumed it was two months notice but it seems it is two months notice required prior to the end of the fixed term tenancy. Problem being I have now after many years been offered a council property and only have 3 acceptances, the first was unsuitable, this next is perfect, if I do not except it I have one left and worried it may not be acceptable and will be taken off list if I did not take it. My dilemma is that supposedly I did not have a break clause, which means if I am to end contract it has to be when it expires which will be only one time of the year which I cannot guarantee I would be offered a property then.

I am not sure what to do as obviously the council cant wait for me and I am unable to pay the remaining months rent of the contract, can anyone give me any suggestions.

I was blind to this and not aware of break clauses when I took the contract, I literally went into the office signed the document and took the keys, no explanation was given so how was I to know, help needed please.

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David 6th June, 2015 @ 11:02

@Julie

Just take the Council place,

Chances are the Landlord will not pursue you, regardless of what their contract says you are covered by common law.

Check with Shelter but usually one months notice is all that is required.

Also verify that your Landlord or Agent did their job properly, did they protect your desposit,did they issue you with the prescribed information about that deposit (ref number, where held etc).

Just take the Council property and do your best to do right by the Landlord, it is not their fault that you did not read the contract. Clean the flat well so it can be re-rented quickly

Usually under OFT356 you are only liable for as long as it takes to get a new tenant.

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Polly 15th June, 2015 @ 15:54

Hi there can u tell me a bit more about this licence scheme what's been introduced for landlords

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Dorothy Cohen 19th September, 2015 @ 08:19

Our daughter and her friend have been tenants in a flat in Fulham for a year with a two year lease which is due to expire in August 2016. The property was sold three months ago and they were assured by the Estate Agents that the sale did not affect them as the landlord had agreed to honour the remainder of the lease. However two weeks ago he served them with Notice to quit by the beginning of November using the Break clause in the lease. They took the lease to the CAB who confirmed what the Estate Agents said about being able to stay until the expiry date of the Lease as aforementioned. They do not know what to do and needless to say they and the Estate Agents are shocked and very upset. He also wants his contractors to come in now to survey and start work. There has been no default on payments and no bad behaviour. They work long hours in the West End theatre and the flat is convenient to coming home very late at night. What is their legal position in this matter?

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Mary 20th September, 2015 @ 22:36

Hello. On the 3rd of September 2014 I signed a shop lease for 5 years. The lanlady said to do it for 5 years due the low cost for the solicitor. My shop is a beauty and nails salon and the advertising is everything. I am upstairs the hairdresser but the landlady avoid me to put my sign on the Main Street so no one knows I'm there. I'm force to do Groupon, Wowcher and other to let ppl know I'm there even if they live across the street. I tried with a big sign and a flashing light open sign but no way. After one year she changed her mind and, even if my contract say all is included in the rent, she asked me to pay mi bills on top of my rent. I tried to negotiate with her but there was no way, so I started to look around to find a better place. When finally I found it I told her I needed to know how many months of notice she needs and that she can keep my deposit so I can leave without any problem.
Now she asked me to find her another tenant which I did but she was not happy about him cox he wanted only one year contract while I still have 4 years. She never told me how many months but I told her on the 10th of September I was moving, didnt know yet for sure when but I was moving.
I take a look to my lease and doesn't say anything about if I want to leave early what I have to do.
She broke the lease and she admitted it but she doesn't care. I told her to try to end this in easy way, without spend money in legal actions, that my offer to keep my deposit and give her 2 months of notice was fair enough.
Now what can I do? I have problems in her flat/shop cox ppl doesn't know I'm there and I cannot do groupon or Wowcher for ever as I will run out of business. I state this problems to her too and I tried to let her understand I will leave anyway sooner cox there is not enough business to me if I have to pay even the bills on top. I read my lease and it says she supposed to do s new agreement with the new changes and be sign by both .
I need to leave but she is playing she count on my money cox she has 3 children when she had other 3 rent on the same building of mine. I have 3 children too and I cannot provide them everything cox I have to choose to pay her, but the products i need or use money for my children.

What do u think ?

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Michael 8th November, 2015 @ 19:05

Hello
My sister has had an AST for more than 2 years, she just received a termination notice giving her 2 months time to vacate the house. Does she need to stay in the house for those 2 months or can she leave earlier? Thank you.

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David 21st November, 2015 @ 00:40

@Dorothy Cohen

Sorry for late reply, I will reply to help others.

It does depend on the contract and the terms for the break clause, i.e. was it conditional on anything such as non payment of rent.

Even if the tenancy agreement has a break clause, how did they issue the "notice to quit" as a Section 21 notice?

The housing act still applies and you do NOT have to leave whether a lease expires or is terminated, if a S21 notice was NOT issued you wait until the end of the tenancy notice they gave and tell them you will not be leaving. They then have to issue the S21 from that date which gives you more time.

Then there is the case of whether the S21 is valid, was the deposit protected within 30 days, was the prescribed information issued within 30 days?

If not you wait until the 2 months of the S21 expires and inform them it was not legally valid.

Wait for them to ask why and tell them. They have to correct the fault and start over.

Of course the agent may have protected the deposit on time but not issued the PI, now having lost the income and with no relationship with new owner may not be inclined to show copies of PI if they have them. Even if they have them, unless they are signed by the tenant, is a matter of dispute.

As a tenant, you or they are entitled to the QUIET ENJOYMENT of the property, there is no obligation to allow anyone in except to perform emergency works such as a leaking boiler.

There is no obligation for contractors, agents or viewings even if they are mentioned in the lease, they have to be convenient and besides what is he going to do, evict or sue, no just wait until you go.

Even for things mentioned in the lease, it has to be a mutually agreed appointment and you just never agree to one that is proposed.

"No sorry that is too late

No that is not convenient please propose another date/time and we will let you know"

Sadly I fear it may be too late as your message was posted a while back but hopefully a reader will benefit.

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David 21st November, 2015 @ 01:10

@Mary

A shop lease is very different from a tenancy agreement.

If it is commercial you are liable for the term unless there are break clauses but she cannot change the agreement and add bills.

In business a Judge expects you to have your lease examined by your lawyer and to be responsible for what you signed and what it says in the lease.

So if the lease says you can put signage you can put signage

You can put one in the window, just be sure to check with local council about size.

If it says bills are inclusive or even if the landlady agreed they were inclusive (a verbal agreement is legally binding).

Any business needs to adverise, you can create listings in hundreds of directories for 1st floor, 12 high street, anytown. The big ones being Google for Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Yell. These should point to your website and can include offers as well, it is always worth doing monthly specials with Google for biz and it is free. If you do not have a website then a friend of mine does that kind of work and the promotion, I think their site is websales.biz, of course that assumes you are staying or finding a better place.

You may wish to consider avoiding the overhead of a lease, business rates etc. Look around for a complimentary business with similar clients (like a gym or other hairdressor) offer to come in on certain days a week and pay them either a fixed fee or a percentage.

Groupon etc are bad for business, they attract freebie seekers who are always disappointed. Plus because you have to give a massive discount you either have to hike up your business prices or you go out of biz trying to fulfil orders at prices that make no sense.

The simple fact is that the contract is a legal document, you do not say how she is breaching it but if she does not care she is unlikely to take you to Court.

Look for reasons to terminate, e.g. her breach of her obligations, you only need to find a new tenant or pay a penalty if the contract says so.

Most of the stuff in this site is about tenancy agreements which require 2 months but in your situation it is the contract that is important.

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Sarah Bloomfield 18th February, 2016 @ 07:30

Any advise please
I have a house with a mortgage that I let my step son and his girlfriend live there with a nominal fee just to help me out as a new job forced me out the area where I rent a small flat. There relationship fell sour and step son moved out leaving girlfriend and her new boyfriend in house. Consequently I get no money, council environmental fine for there rubbish outside of house which I had to pay to remove oil and bags of dirty nappies etc., and after several promises to move out she is still there. I was at the house on Friday inspecting property as in an appalling state, when she has the police remove me from the property stating she will definitely be moving next week.
Today I get a text of her saying that she will not move unless she gets a section 21 order as wants the council to rehouse her, she does not have a short-hold tenancy agreement just verbal as they are family. I now need to move back in as cannot afford to keep both properties running on a low wage. Can I move back in and just let her stay? will I be breaking any laws?

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David 19th February, 2016 @ 11:38

Interesting one this.

Based on what you said it depends on a few things.

If there was a financial agreement to pay a rent, no matter how small there was a tenancy, if you did not provide one then a statutory tenancy applies.

HOWEVER, that may have been between you and your son, not her unless she has some agreement.

If she has been paying the nominal fee and you have been accepting it then it is a tenancy.

So issue an S21 give her two months notice, do it properly, serve her 20 different ways with evidence.

The S21 will give her what she needs for Council but they will not house her unless she has offspring (nappies suggest these exist).

If she accepts she was never a tenant and there has never been a payment from her, then you could accuse her of squatting and issue notice of eviction. S21 is easier.

It is best to try and resolve amicably, say to her that you want to resolve it in a friendly way and will give her a S21 which is what she needs for Council to take matter seriously. Actually have it with you when you agree to meet her to discuss what she needs for Council, have a 2nd copy ready for her to sign.

You can get one from this site.

At least there is no deposit.

Once the S21 is served let her and the Council know that if you have to proceed to Court to enforce the S21 you will be seeking full legal costs and will enforce a CCJ.

It is important that the Council do not make this woman a debtor by their inaction. They will not house someone who has rent arrears so do not say she does or you will never be rid of her.

Good news is there was no deposit.

If above fails move your son back in. He is a party to tenancy and will at least annoy, as a tenant he can have his biker mates around every night make life hell or he can let his homeless friends stay on floor randomly.

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Stevie 14th March, 2016 @ 10:14

Hi, we would like to move but our unsure of the break clause included in our contract it states that;
We have to give a minimum of one months notice and will expire on the last day of a period of the tenancy
Does this mean we have to tell them on a date when rent is due or we have to wait until the 12 months?
Thanks

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Anna 29th March, 2016 @ 19:43

Hi - looking for some advice please.

I signed an AST in November 2011 for a 24 month fixed term with 6 month break clause. It was a huge document and at the end of the term i was asked if i wanted to renew for a further 12 month fixed term. I agreed and signed the renewal, assuming that all conditions from the original contract would still be valid unless otherwise stated. I've continued to do this for the next couple of years, signing a renewal with nothing other than the monthly rent changing.

Today i tried to give notice and activate the break clause (meeting all conditions) and was told i am bound to the full 12 months as on renewal i didnt request a break clause. I now feel really silly for making the assumption that all conditions would carry over into the renewal. Is there anything i can do?

Thanks in advance.

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David 4th April, 2016 @ 16:02

No you are NOT

Although these usually carry the same terms as previous tenancy agreement, what differs is COMMON LAW.

Regardless of what is written common law applies, the previous contract was in fact going against common law and OFT356 2006 guidance.

Your contract was badly formed, a six month break clause is exactly that, a break at six months and every six months usually. If it is a renewal then previous terms apply they can't include extra or exclude individual terms as they see fit.

The bit saying notice had to be given on a certain day a year ahead is not legally valid as it goes against common law, OFT356 Guidance and the contract itself (which has a six month break clause).

I would write a letter saying

"I dispute your assertion that my notice to end the tenancy is invalid, the tenancy was renewed in whole with all terms in accordance with the Housing Act. I have taken advice and the term requiring notice be given on a certain day is in breach of OFT 2006 guidance and against common law, as such it is an unfair contract term

My previous notice stands and if you wish to take legal advice you will find this to be the case"

Now is the time to check whether your deposit was protected by looking it up on the three deposit protection sites, also check your paperwork to make sure you were given the "prescribed information" telling you where the deposit was protected, the reference number and the amount." Note that an email from the DPS or other organisation is not PI, PI is a statutory document that requires specific information to be provided by the Landlord.

If your deposit was NOT protected or you were not served PI the landlord may have to pay up to 3x the deposit even if it was their agent who failed.

I mention this because badly formed contracts or disgusting behaviour like this usually comes from LAZY people and LAZY people often do not protect deposits or provide the tenant with PI.

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David 4th April, 2016 @ 16:47

So if it did go to Court you would ask the Court to consider that the term specified and relied upon by the Landlord is an unfair contract term.

You would ask the Court to consider Government Guidance on this matter than has been in force since 2006.

Specifically OFT356

Overlong notice periods

3.74 An unreasonably long notice period for termination of an assured periodic tenancy agreement can lead to tenants paying for accommodation they no longer want or need. This is likely if tenants have to give notice long before they are able to predict their future needs. If tenants are required to give notice well before they would naturally be considering it, they could easily forget to give notice at the right time.

3.76 The unfair effect of a long notice period may be more severe because of the law regarding rights to 'assign' the tenancy (see Chapter 4, Group 18(d)).

The OFT in general said that whatever clauses are in any tenancy agreement must be equal,

Common Law (the housing act) specifies that there is only protection for a tenant in the first six months of a tenancy and that any subequent tenancy that is substantially the same does not provide the tenant with protection from eviction.

In such cases a Landlord has to serve a Section 21 notice and the statutory notice is two months as long as it is not in the first four months of the tenancy (but where the tenancy is a replacement tenancy, the four month period is calculated by reference to the start of the original tenancy and not the start of the replacement tenancy – see section 21(4B) of the
Housing Act 1988);

To be FAIR and EQUAL the most a landlord could request when it did not become a Statutory Periodic Tenancy (because you signed a renewal) was 2 months, your contract has a six month break clause that HAS been complied with but the specific date in the clause effectively makes this a one year notice and as such is an unfair contract term that you are asking the Court to invalidate.

Note you would do this in response to them taking you to Court or if you took then to Court for not returning your deposit. You would of course protest to the 3rd party deposit company before going to court and they would probably release it.

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Gina 20th July, 2016 @ 09:51

Hi - looking for some advice please.

Back in February I signed a lease for a 12 months contract. In May I asked for a break clause and one was granted in August however my partner and I changed our minds about moving back to Aus and now are looking to move out in December. Is there anyway we can get out of the contract by finding someone else for the lease? I am going to broach the subject with the landlord again in October (or should I do it earlier?) to give them time but we're having a baby and we kinda really need to get out by December. I feel landlords need to understand life doesn't work in 12 month increments!

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Simon Pambin 20th July, 2016 @ 12:47

If I were you I'd approach your landlord sooner rather than later. The fact that he granted a six-month break clause after the tenancy had already begun suggests that he's quite accommodating (if you'll pardon the pun). If you let him know your plans at an early stage, even if you don't make it formal yet, he can start to plan accordingly.

Legally, your landlord would be entitled to recompense for your ending the tenancy early. However, he must mitigate his loss, i.e. he couldn't just leave the property empty for the remainder of the term, make no attempt to find new tenants and just claim the whole rent from you. If you're prepared to make the process of finding new tenants a smooth as possible, e.g. by being flexible in allowing viewings, then you'll probably find that your landlord will be reasonable. There's no point assuming the worst before you've even spoken to him.

The point of a twelve month tenancy is that it provides security on both sides: the landlord knows that, all being well, he won't have to incur the costs of finding new tenants for at least a year and, by the same token, the tenants know that they won't be obliged to leave at a couple of months' notice.

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David 20th July, 2016 @ 20:51

@Gina

If anything people want longer tenancies because for them it is a permanent home not a working holiday home.

You know the personality of your landlord, how were they when you messed them about before by changing your mind?

If they were totally professional and did not get agressive then chances are they will do the same this time. However, this time you are leaving their property empty.

I would just go to them and say that your circumstances have changed as you have a baby on the way and ask what they would like you to do.

Most Landlords want to choose their tenants from whatever source they decide, they may have a recruitment process, e.g. calling up previous references before they do anything with the simple question, the only question you need to ask.

In my life I have given people too much notice only to find they got seriously pissed off, if 2 months is the notice a tenant is given under S21 it is fine for the Landlord.

Bear in mind the condition of the flat, fill all the holes you made, make it easy for them to show the property, I know in Oz you are obliged to do this but in the UK it has to be at a mutually agreed time that is convenient. So suggest two windows of time, say Sunday from 3pm to 5pm and Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm.

If you are going to be traveling light get rid of any junk you have acculated so the flat looks tidy. eBay, Gumtree or Freecycle get this done.

Look at your tenancy, does it require you to clean carpets, BTW not everything in the tenancy is legal, many landlords download tenancy agreements rather than pay the very decent rates this site charges.

Simon is right about mitigating their loss, essentially they can only charge you for actual losses they incur. Go download OFT365 PDF file to get a flavour for how things work here. It talks about wording and says what they prefer. A badly written contract can get all terms invalidated if it does not have terms protecting them.

From what you have said I suspect they will be fine.

Check your deposit is being held in an approved scheme, you should have been given statutory notice of where it is held as well as a certificate. Whoever has it should have emailed or texted you. I mention them because when you leave the Landlord can just authorise you to have the deposit or they can make a case for deductions. The deposit holder determines that and you get to have your say.

Landlords are just like you, they know Shhh IT Happens but they also have a mortgage to pay on your home.

Anything you can do to make the transition easy will be appreciated.

Good luck with it all.

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John 5th September, 2016 @ 20:18

Can someone please help me to clarify this break clause? I have just moved into a new flat on the 5th of August with a 1 year contract and want to know when I could actually leave if i was to use the break clause?

"Any time after eight months of the initial fixed term of this agreement either party may invoke this break

clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other (such notice to expire on the

last day of a rental period of the tenancy). At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all

obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the

other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement."

-- Does this mean on the sixth month I can write a notice to leave and be out on the 8th month or does it mean after eight months of the contract are done, then I can give a 2 months notice which in total 10 months of my 1 year contract will be done?

Sorry if I have over confused myself this is my first time renting and I just want to get out asap and move back home.

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jose 20th November, 2016 @ 10:56

Hello
Thank you in advance for your help!!

I have a question in relatioan with this...

I have a three month contract, that has begun last 24th of october, so it is running until 24th of january. I have to pay monthly from 20th to 20th (it is also written in the contract, so my 'month' starts on day 20 each month until next 20th).

I have a month break clause agreement written in the contract.

I have a clause that says I have to give one clear month written notice (can a 'clear month' be from 20th nocember until 20th of december? Or it is just from 1st to 1st?)

I have just paid from 24th october until 20th november and from 20 nov until 20th of december which I want it to be my last day.

Is it possible to leave 20 december if I advice just on 20 november? (I have paid for this period) or I have to give notice from 1 december just for 1 of january be my last day?

Thanks!

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David 20th November, 2016 @ 13:03

@Jose

For anybody to comment they would need to see the whole contract.

For example if the contract said notice had to be given on a rent due date or at the end of the month or on the 31st of a month.

Do you see what I mean? Based on what you say so far....

Note, a month runs from 20th to 19th not 20th to 20th.

You make no sense when you say...

"I have just paid from 24th october until 20th november and from 20 nov until 20th of december which I want it to be my last day.

How have you just paid from 24th October to 20th November when that has just passed, are you in arrears already?

Is it possible to leave 20 december if I advice just on 20 november? (I have paid for this period) "

If you just paid from 24th Oct to 19th Nov, how can you have "paid for these period" meaning to December 19th ?

Barring any clauses that contradict you can give notice at any time.

There may be a minimum term and if your break clause refers to it then the minimum term would have to be the earliest point you could leave.

Legally under common law the minimum AST contract period is 6 months, but this is to protect the tenant. If there is a break clause that does not put other conditions then you are free to give notice.

The Deregulation Act 2015 makes provisions and repayment of rent owed back to you, but if you did indeed just pay to the 19th you could give notice today (the 20th Nov) giving a clear months notice.

Again IF nothing in the tenancy says the notice has to be given on the 1st day of the month then you can give it at any time (based on what you have said so far).

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Jose 20th November, 2016 @ 13:21

Thank you very much DAvid for your answer, I will try to explain better because I did not do it properly...

My contract says exactly:

"The 'Term' being subject to "Three months beginning on 24th of october 2016", subject to a month break clause by both Parties after the term has begun. For the avoidance of doubt the Term begins on 24th of october 2016. Should the parties need to discuss an alternative Term outside the Term outlined in this Agreement due to sickness, redundancy, personal circumstances and events of a similar nature this will be discussed where necessary by the parties and where agreed the Owner will provide written consent. In any event, Termination of the Term will be subject to the conditions outlined below.

Termination of the agreement will be granted by giving to the other Party written notice of ONE clear calendar month.

The payment of 680 pounds per calendar month will be payable in advance on or by the twentieth of each month to the owner.

The deposit of 340 pounds will be retained by the owner and as set out in the Terms and Contions overleaf."

So just today, it is 20th and I need to know if I give today the notice that my last day is on 20th of december everything is ok! Or should I say that my last will be 19th?

Thanks for your kind help!!!
Jose.

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David 20th November, 2016 @ 14:31

I am guessing that this is NOT a rental for a flat or house but for a room where the Landlord lives in or a Holiday Let?

Otherwise the contract is illegal, AST min is 6 months for a self contained property.

If it is indeed an AST then the deposit needs to be protected in an approved scheme (DPS, TDS, Mydeposits) within 30 days (by Nov 24th) or you get penalty sanction.

I really need to see the whole contract if you scanned it redacted the details of the parties and address then pasted it to imgur that might help.

So your contract runs from 24th Oct to 24th January, rent is due to be paid a month in advance 4 days earlier. If this were an AST I would not give notice till the 24th just to see if it was protected. Also as your terms run 24th to 23rd I would give notice on 24th anyway.

This contract does NOT look like it was drafted by a Solicitor, it is too ambiguous and not using legal structure.

Landlord does seem open to a variation of term but you need it writing from him.

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Jose 20th November, 2016 @ 21:23

Hello David,

Thanks a LOT for your help...

Here I send you the links to my contract... I have just said today that I would like to finish my contract on 20th of december... I don't know if I did something wrong but my landlord became angry and told me to stay until 1 of january... I have just realized that in the contract it is said 'three month break clause'... so I really don't know if I did well...

Page 1: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4GxK72nJxyrMmlEMGJzLUQza0k
Page 2: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4GxK72nJxyrX0NrWmM2X0NOd2c
Page 3: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4GxK72nJxyrXzE5ck9XcXJxOHc

Yes, as you said, it is a room in his property, he also lives in.

-Can he ask me to stay for the whole duration (3 months until 24th of january?) or can I leave 20th (or 19th I guess) of december if have send today the expected noticed?
-Can he make a contract like this? I mean.. MINIMUM three month contract with a three month break clause...? He also said that in any case, as the contract is for three months, the half of this period is 1,5 months so this would be my 'break clause'

Thank you very much! it is the first time in years I have a problem with a landlord and it is being really a bad experience, specially living in the same place!

Thanks for your advice!

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David 20th November, 2016 @ 22:57

@Jose

Sorry to hear of your experience, it happened to a friend of mine although his was female, went into his room when he was at work and left notes all over the place. Basically she fancied him but he thought she was in need of mental health support!

As a lodger you have far fewer rights, deposit does not need to be protected, locks can be changed once term is over or notice is over.

Your contract seems to differ from what you said above in that it says there is a 3 month break clause. In fact is says
"six (3)" bit the six is crossed out.

So there is no break if the break clause is 3 months and it is a 3 month contract, you just wait for the contract to end.

I would use one of the suggested excuses he offers to end the term early, say a family member is ill and you have to leave the Country. Ask nicely for the deposit back saying you need it as airfare.

"Should the parties need to discuss an alternative Term outside the Term outlined in this Agreement due to sickness, redundancy, personal circumstances and events of a similar nature this will be discussed where necessary by the parties and where agreed the Owner will provide written consent. "

It says here that if he agrees the owner will provide written consent to terminate outside the three months.

So my advice would be to keep him sweet, be nice because clause 3.1 says deposit will be paid at the end of the term (however it ends).

Also says Owner can deduct reasonable costs incurred by any breaches of lodger's obligation.

So he could charge you for him time to put an ad on Gumtree but not a lot.

If you came via an agent then he may be able to charge you whatever his fee is.

I am not sure what he is doing but if you feel threatened you could always call the police, just so that there is a record.

He may be doing this to people to get them to leave within a month and pocketing the 2 months.

So if you tell him you have a family member ill, if he is not reasonable then you might decide to stay for the full term, the deposit will be due back what will then be as soon as he has had time to make sure you have not damaged property. I would suggest you do a joint inventory inspection.

Hope this helps!

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jose 21st November, 2016 @ 00:08

Hello David,
Thank you very much for your help.
Everything is more clear now. I really appreciate.
Thanks!
Jose.

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jimmy 25th November, 2016 @ 19:19

I have a one year AST which began on 2 Feb 2016. The break clause says I have to give one months notice to leave which can't expire after 1Aug 2016. My landlord must give 2 months notice which cannot expire after 1 Oct 2016. Is this fair? When I signed the contract I was told I could leave anytime after 6 months as long as I gave one months notice but the contract says otherwise. Can I do anything about this?

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David 26th November, 2016 @ 00:23

Hi @jimmy

Can you please clarify what you find unfair?

August has passed so you are free to give one month's, the Landlord is giving you more security by having to give you 2 months' notice (which in most circumstances is the law).

As I read it

You started on 02/02/2016

Plus 6 months is 02/08/2016

So you had your 6 months and are now free to give a month's notice.

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John 8th January, 2017 @ 19:22

Can someone please help me to clarify this break clause? I have just moved into a new flat on the 5th of August with a 1 year contract and want to know when I could actually leave if i was to use the break clause?

"Any time after eight months of the initial fixed term of this agreement either party may invoke this break
clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other (such notice to expire on the
last day of a rental period of the tenancy). At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all
obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the
other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement."

- Does this mean on the sixth month I can write a notice to leave and be out on the 8th month or does it mean after eight months of the contract is done, then I can give a 2 months notice which in total 10 months of my 1 year contract will be done?

Can some one answer this question please? This is a repost..

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David 8th January, 2017 @ 20:59

You give notice on April 5th and it will end June 5th

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Diane Bull 20th January, 2017 @ 04:04

Hi I'm a landlord and stupidly I had a break clause in my tenancy agreement which I didn't understand (until now). I have had tenants since 15th July 2016 on a one year AST. They have just sent me an email stating they are giving me 2 months notice as per my break clause. Should the two months be effective on the 14th (therefore their notice expires on 15th April) or does it expire 2 months from today.
The reason for leaving is that they want a house, not because of any problems between us. Apparently, I'm the best landlord they have ever had!!
I'm a little miffed due to the fact that I have them lots of concessions and although Im sure the place will not be damaged in anyway, it will still cost to rerent. I will need to redecorate etc. (They had brand new decoration, kitchen. curtains and carpets when they moved in.
The deposit is with an insured scheme. Will I be able to keep some of that to offset my costs in re renting etc.
Many thanks

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David 20th January, 2017 @ 09:04

@Diane Bull

So let me get this straight, you have a legally binding contract with a break clause.

The tenant has fully complied with their legal obligations and you expect no issues in any way regarding the condition of the property.

BUT you feel the need to grab some of their deposit?

NO Diane, the deposit is held for the performance of the contract, i.e. damages to the property or non-payment of rent being typical examples.

Maybe next time you could add a "miffed because you made concessions clause", although it would not be legally binding under OFT356 and unfair contract terms!

Diane (and any other Landlord reading this) it is NOT for a tenant to underwrite your business, redecoration is a part of property maintenance. Some people add clauses to require tenants to professionally clean carpets once a year and some add decoration clauses, but they can be challenged and they are not a profit centre if not done.

The same applies to the costs of getting a new tenant, these should be factored into your rent charge.

I would add that, “landlords doing a deposit grab” is exactly why the legislation to protect the deposit protection was created.

The break clause works for both of you; imagine if your circumstances changed and you needed to sell quickly, you would be grateful for that clause.

Now I suggest that you look at the online agents article on this site, particularly about Open Rent so you have as smaller void as possible.

As you have such reasonable and fine tenants you might ask them nicely if they will allow you to carry out viewings in two slots a week (Wednesday evening between 7pm and 8.30pm plus Sunday between 3pm and 4.30pm. Remember, they are under no obligation to let you do viewings unless it is at a mutually acceptable time and date. People do not like strangers traipsing around their HOME, some of who are professional thieves just using the landlord/agent to get access so they can steal an ipad or passport.

If your rent is too low to be profitable you have a few choices,

1. Check the LHA rate for the type of property in your area, the LHA rate is the maximum that benefits will pay and the lowest 30th percentile of rents in the area. This rate may be an indicator that you are not charging enough.

2. Do not just redecorate, invest in property as a "lux pad" and charge a very very high rent to someone of a different class.

3. Change your market, turn the place into a B&B and put it on AirBNB, there will be a lot of voids but you can charge £2k for a week if the property is furnished well enough. Of course be careful of thieves.

Personally I would look at this as an opportunity to refresh the property and increase the rent a bit without being referred for a rent review!

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 20th January, 2017 @ 10:10

@Diane Bull
Respectfully, I'm miffed at what you're actually trying to claim for, other than the inconvenience of your tenant's leaving earlier than you had planned (which doesn't entitle you to financial compensation).

So in short... no, you can't deduct a deposit to cover the cost of finding new tenants in your particular case (or at least, based on what you've said). You said it yourself, you didn't realise there was a break clause, so it seems like you're trying to compensate for your own ignorance (no offence).

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David 20th January, 2017 @ 10:45

@Landlord

I try to think the best of people so I suspect that it is just bad financial planning due to inexperience.

There is a lot on this site that could help her, starting with your investment advice for the type of mortgage, then use of online agents etc plus the hilarious bits in every post.

A lot of people are Landlords by default, they have the flat, get married and decide to rent it out. They do not think of it as a business and sadly neither does the Chancellor with these tax changes.

Like any business where the numbers do not add up you have 3 choices

1. Reduce your costs
2. Increase your prices
3. Get out of the kitchen and cut your losses

Buy to let cars offers 11% !!

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Diane Bull 21st January, 2017 @ 03:47

Wow.I feel properly told off. I was asking for advice not a slating.
Yes, it was ignorance on my part regarding the break clause but Im a fair landlord and I expect my tenants to be fair too.
Ive had other tenants ask to leave before their tenancy expired and not had an issue with it.
It was just because there are a lot of details which I have not posted regarding these tenants, which has left me with rather a bad taste in my mouth and feeling quite frankly, used.

They also had the benefit of brand new, which I feel is quite a selling point. I now have to renew!

So, back to my original question, (part of which you have so eloquently answered)

Do they have to give me notice on the rent day?

As i didnt know about the break clause (definitely my ignorance) I have been googling and it has confused me.

BTW. Googling was were I read that I could claim for my rerenting costs as they were leaving early.. but obviously you cant believe everything you read.

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David 21st January, 2017 @ 10:16

Hey @Diane

Do not take it personally, remember online when someone gets slapped down it is because one is slapping down all the people who have the wrong mindset.

When you explain that you saw it online it means that it is not you that is ruthless exploiter of tenants, just that you had your expectations raised.

Now IF a tenant left early and there was no break clause under OFT356 guidance you can claim your reasonable and actual costs. Some Landlord try it on with all sorts of stupid charges or expecting to pay till end of tenancies but even under common law you have to mitigate your losses.

They have to give notice in accordance with what your tenancy says, so if your tenancy agreement says, you need to post the terms mentioned in there or post a redacted version online with a link to it and I can have a look.

I still do not see how your tenant has been unfair, they exercised a legally binding clause.

Landlords promise long term 5 year rentals but then after a year they decide to sell up and buy something better. It does not matter what they promised, what matters is what is in the contract.

I know how you feel about feeling let down, I have helped homeless people only to have them steal from me, it made me feel foolish for trusting them. Mostly I was upset that they stopped me trusting others.

Getting brand new is just the luck of the draw, personally I would always paint a property on each new letting. As for appliances I would use stock from Freecycle unless I was aiming up market, in which case I might use Gumtree.

This is not your home, it is a business asset, now if you are aiming at the top end tenant and charging double the usual rent then fine, kit it out with a nice oven, fridge freezer and washing machine. Otherwise NO and I will tell you why.

We have seen tenants on here complaining about a toaster not being new, it creates expectation to do too much.

Consider this a learning experience.

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Diane Bull 22nd January, 2017 @ 02:06

Thank you David for your time in replying to me.
i have started to communicate with the tenants but as it was getting a little heated. I have now stopped and will not reply to them until Monday.
Stupidly, the clause in my tenancy agreement is ambiguous. It does not state that it has to be on rent day. But as every other notice does, I am standing by that.
I am also standing by, that they need to give me the notice in writing with both their signatures, an email does not suffice.
They are coming back with ... my cousin works in the industry etc.. and we dont need to do that...

I have let them pay their top up rent late, I changed their payment days to four weekly from calendar monthly due to them being on benefits, and a few other things besides that went against the tenancy agreement.
They are now using the tenancy agreement against me!!
I think that is why I am so "miffed" with them.

BTW. I hadnt seen this forum before, Ive sat here for hours reading the posts. Some landlords, have been taken for such rides. Some tenants too.
Very interesting.

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David 22nd January, 2017 @ 09:16

Hey @Diane

Yep this is a great site, organically grown with the humour of Flossy and the input of many real world Landlords and Tenants.

Now Diane you will know by now that I speak my mind and sometimes it seems I lack that filter because things need to be said. It is not personal, you see a site like this helps people learn from the mistakes of others and hopefully avoid them.

So Diane WTF is wrong with you!

Let it go!

I know you are disappointed that your tenant is leaving but let me break it to you; they are leaving no matter what you do. Punishing them, insisting on things in writing, arguing, it is just a waste of your time and energy.

You say that you have been reading the experiences of others on this site, well one thing you can learn is that if you piss off a tenant they can retaliate. They can increase your voids, not let you in to show new tenants, change the locks, report you to local authority for mistakes you may have made, hell they can cost you thousands if you did not comply fully with the law on deposit protection. These are just the nice things they can do, there are many things they can do that will damage your investment that will not show for now or may cost you money because you have to fix them, Anything from water leaks to a short on the boiler, some will even trash a place.

Now you might be thinking "Those bastards try that and I will sue their arses", well good luck with that.

So take a deep breath, hold it, little bit more and release.

Repeat the above 10 times

If you have been communicating via email forget that and forget trying to LORD it over tbem, let them go, make it easy for them even and be at peace with the world.

Ring them up and say "Sorry about the emails, I thought I would call you as we lose a lot of intonation in emails. Look I have reconsidered and decided I am not going to hold you to notice in writing etc. The fact is you were great tenants and I am sorry to lose you. So let's agree to just work out your departure in an amicable way as possible."

They are NOT using the tenancy agreement against you; they are using a perfectly valid clause that you put in there.

So learn from that, drop the break clause in your next tenancy agreement.

You are not doing them favours taking their payments four weekly, you are doing yourself a favour, they expressed a problem which may make them go in arrears because of the way they are paid and worked with you to find a solution. Some shitheads simply do not pay, then when the money is there in their account they go buy a mobile phone and wham, arrears become acceptable and they grow.

Now you might think you can put any shit you like in a tenancy agreement and it is LAW, well sorry to break it to you but WRONG! You might download an agreement you might even have a lawyer construct one, but there is guidance on this from the Office of Fair Trading on unfair contract terms in tenancy agreement, this document is practically a bible in legal circles because Judges do not want to bring their personal bias to their Court. Also they recognise that there is an inherent power imbalance between Landlord and Tenant at the point of signing an agreement because they are desperate to have a home. Truth is most people will sign almost anything.

Have a read of it.

http://bit.ly/356terms

Now let me get this clear

You have by your own admission an ambiguous statement and you think that just because other clauses are not ambiguous you can ASS-U-ME it applies, well good luck with that!

Let me put this clearly for you

IT DOES NOT STATE IT HAS TO BE ON A RENT DAY

What is STUPID is you thinking you can enforce a term condition that does not exist.

Now you need to get out of this mindset that you are doing them favours or that you can Lord it over them.

Let it go

Let it go

Let it go

This page may help

http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/your-tenant-wants-leave-early/

Call them today as advised above, wish them well and the positive karma will wash back over you in due course.

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Diane Bull 22nd January, 2017 @ 16:54

OMG. I feel like Elsa... "let it go"

I just dont like being walked over.

I will let it go.

But they will not get their deposit back early. Or any other concessions, like .. ooh dont worry about that bit of damage!!!!

Thank you once again for your time and comments. Although I havent liked them..xxxx

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David 22nd January, 2017 @ 18:28

No Worries @Diane

The Truth Hurts but Don't shoot the messenger

It could have been SO much worse.

These tenants have done nothing wrong at all, but you still want "payback".

I just hope your deposit was done properly within 30 days and with Prescribed Information within 30 days.

Obviously, if they damaged anything they would face a deduction via the deposit company who will have a method of handling that.

However, fair wear and tear applies and you need an inventory signed by both parties to make that stand, otherwise it is your word against theirs.

On the bright side, once they go you can increase the rent and find new tenants who will be with you for four year. They will always pay the rent on time and you will finally be a happy bunny.

Honestly, if you saw some of the stories on this site, tenants who owed £7k, £5k in legal fees to evice, left the place trashed, then put in a complaint because their junk was put in a skip.

Be happy you had a decent tenant who paid their rent and exercised a legally valid clause in a contract you supplied.

I do tell it how it is and there is nothing personal, I am sure you are a delightful person, really!!

I totally relate to you doing someone a favour and it not being appreciated but that is life. People walk all over you if you are a carpet, still I would not want to change my good nature because of someone else.

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Diane Bull 22nd January, 2017 @ 18:57

Been there, done that, with nightmare tenant. Cost me thousands.

I dont like to ask up to market value for my properties as i think the rents are too bloody high.

And, as for the deposit, it was registered with the DPS in time, but in their insured scheme and im not sure if i sent the correct paperwork to the tenant. This will probably be the next conversation i have.

I try so hard to get things right and there is always something ive missed.

Never mind!

Thanks once again for your help and im sure ill be back with more queries..xxxx

Diane AKA Elsa

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K J Butler 23rd January, 2017 @ 15:27

I have been diagnosed and I now have to give up work temporarily. Our lease is up on 5 Feb 2017. On 1 January we told the landlord we could no longer afford the apartmnt given our change in circumstances. All rent and bills are up to date and have always been paid regularly. We have had to put a small deposit down on a much smaller place and have told the Landlord that the deposit of 750 he can keep even though we are moving out on 26th January (he is currently advertising the apartment from 27th January). We have said that we will pay January's invoices as we always have done.

He is now threatening all sorts and I am due to go into hospital on Wednesday and dont want to leave my partner facing all of this drama as well as everything else he has to contend with. Any advice please?

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David 23rd January, 2017 @ 18:33

@KJ Butler

I am very sorry to hear of your diagnosis and I wish you all the best.

So of course, there are two sides to this, the Tenant and the Landlord

The first is that you have a legally binding contract; it may or may not have a break clause.

It is when you breach the terms of that contract that the fun starts.

The Landlord will think that he can hold you responsible for the whole of the contract, however, he is wrong.

In common law people who which to make a claim against another party have to mitigate their losses. This means that Landlord having been given reasonable notice has to try and get a new tenant in as soon as possible.

There is Government Guidance on Tenancy Agreements produced by the Office Of Fair Trading, it is practically a bible as far as Judges are concerned and parts of it are enforced by Trading Standards.

The guidance says that the Landlord may charge you for ACTUAL losses he sustains but he must do all he can to mitigate the losses. So he can’t go using services that are more expensive just because he expects you to pay.

So if he advertises the property on OpenRent and the property is cleaned to a state where he can move someone in on Feb 1st, then you would be held liable for

1. Cost of Open Rent
2. Cost of cleaning if you left it in a bad way but not if you left if OK
3. The 5 days of rent.

He can't charge you for his time but he can charge you for his expenses such as petrol to get to the property if he goes more than usual.

Remember he can't hold you responsible for charges he would have incurred anyway at the end of the tenancy, such a check out, deep cleaning that he does anyway, decorating that he does anyway.

His tenancy agreement may be full of shit saying you have to do this that and the other, but again the OFT guidance defines unfair contract terms.

There are often several clauses that may affect a situation like this, the Guidance can be downloaded here, http://bit.ly/356terms

As time is short I have written a response for you to send him below.

Now there is no reason to give him your whole deposit, but it should be left with the company he placed it with under deposit protection legislation (he should have given you details of who has it within 30 days of you moving in).

I do not know what you mean by January's invoices, surely your only bill to him is the rent. You must inform the Energy & Water companies that you are leaving on 26th and give them a reading (take a photo as evidence). Same applies to Council Tax.

The WITHOUT PREJUDUCE means they can't use this letter in Court against you although if your lawyer says it is OK you can admit it yourself.

If you have any questions please post back here

=======================
"
WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Dear Mr Landlord

I was disappointed and most peturbed to receive you continual threats regarding our early departure from your property.

We have explained to you that our circumstances have changed dramatically after receiving a medical diagnosis; I really would have expected you to be more understanding.

If we had been less responsible tenants we might have gone into arrears, waited for you to evict us and the Council would have advised us to wait until the very last minute with bailiffs at the door before they housed us.

As it is I have taken advice and I would like to remind you that regardless of what the tenancy agreement says, it is governed by UK Law, specifically common law and unfair contract terms law.

To this end you have a duty to mitigate any losses that you wish to hold us responsible for. This means you must do everything in your power to re-let the property as soon as possible. For your interest, we have heard that openrent.co.uk are a very good online agency that may facilitate your re-letting the property.

As discussed, any shortfall may be claimed against the deposit but if such a claim is exhorbitant we will dispute it.

The Office of Fair Trading Guidance on unfair contract terms in tenancy agreements will be relied upon should you wish to proceed with your threats http://bit.ly/356terms

I want to assure you of our intention to be as cooperative as possible to enable you to get the property re-let as soon as possible but please also bear in mind that this is an incredibly stressful time for us and I am being admitted to Hospital on Monday.

We really want to keep things amicable and would be grateful if you would now work with us to reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion to this matter.

Yours sincerely

KJ Tenant"

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David 23rd January, 2017 @ 18:38

Just looking at your post again, it says your "lease is up" on Feb 7th 2017 and you are leaving on 26th Jan. So it is just a matter of a few days.

What are all these threats. the deposit would have covered it and he would have had to get a new tenant anyway, so he is going to have very little he can hold you responsible for. Basically, 12 days rent tops, the deposit probably had 4 to 6 weeks of rent, so you have a lot coming back to you.

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Zoe 1st February, 2017 @ 00:31

I have a 3 year lease on my current flat. In september we were told that the landlord was looking to sell the property so there have been people coming in to view the house. We foresee that the property will be sold soon. Both the landlord and us are entitled to a 2 month break clause. however, when the break clause comes into action, it will be a very inconvenient time as we will all be in the middle of exams and we want to move out in july (which will not give us a long enough duration to find a new property)– is there any legal way to extend the notice period? Or is this all just a matter of me having to negotiate with the landlord to hope that they will extend the notice period?

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Zoe 1st February, 2017 @ 00:31

Also, point to note, I have already been in my place for a year and a half.

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David 1st February, 2017 @ 11:32

@Zoe

It is going to depend on the detail of the tenancy agreement regarding break clauses.

You can ask the Landlord if he will consider your request, I very much doubt he will wait 5 months.

You do not actually have to allow viewings, you can be difficult and say it needs to be done at a mutually convenient time, then just refuse every proposed time.

You are entitled to change the locks and your only legal obligation for entry is for gas safety or an emergency leak but you only have to let a bona fide contractor in, not the landlord.

It may be worth checking your deposit was protected within 30 days in an approved scheme and that you received the precribed information within 30 days. If not you can sue the Landlord for up to 3x the deposit but better to use it as a negotiation.

Now he may give you 2 months notice in writing but it is not worth the paper it is written on legally, to evict you he has to issue you with a Section 21 notice, if he has not protected the deposit at all then you can with till the 2 months of the Section 21 are almost up and at that point tell him the Section 21 notice is not legally compliant. To delay things you do not have to say why but wait for him to ask why, then procrastinate saying I can't give you legal advice. BE WARNED if he has protected the deposit he can show the Court that and the S21 will be legal.

If you have not received any deposit protection info you can check the websites of MyDeposit, TDS and DPS enter the month of start of tenancy, your surname and the postcode of the property. Even if it has been protected he has to give you a deposit protection certificate AND the Prescribed Information (some combine this into a 4 page doc).

My advice would be to try and leave sooner, rather than later, start looking now and ask your landlord to release you early with no penalty.

He will get a better price with vacant possession so should be willing to consider it.

If you want to copy the details of the tenancy terms here with regard to the break clause I can be more specific.

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Cameron Holloman 5th March, 2017 @ 18:50

My landlord and I have a fixed lease agreement that was renewed in 10/2016 to extend to 9/2018. Toward the end of 2016, my landlord told me he wanted to sell the property but we agreed that he would only sell to an INVENSTOR and would continue with our current terms and conditions with the same rate ($950/month) till 9/2018.

A few days ago he contacted me and said he found a buyer, however, is not an investor and will be moving into the property 8/201 (13 months early to our signed agreement). The original agreement from when we first moved into the property in 2014 wasn't well written and did NOT include the termination clause should he sell the property he can break the contract early. The new agreement signed in 10/2016 does not either. However, I can't find my original agreement from 2014 which he claims the clause was included.

My question is, since we signed a new agreement on 10/2016, does that overwrite the old contract making it not valid?

He's asking me to provide the signed copy as he DOES NOT have the signed copy either. I really think he's trying to see if I have the original copy because if I don't, he can then add the clause and back date the original agreement. Then, will allow him to sell the property by breaking the agreement without having to honor our agreement time till 9/2018. Does the new agreement that DOES NOT include the clause overwrite the old one and make it no longer valid? This will save me a fight if so...

I'd love to have someone help me out as I am planning on getting married a month after he's requiring me to move out early (9/2017). It's hard enough to plan a wedding... now we have to plan a wedding and find a new place to stay/move out/move in.

PLEASE HELP!

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David 6th March, 2017 @ 00:03

@Cameron

I hope that is not your actual surname there, this IS a landlords forum and your might be about, a message to The Landlord to ask he truncate or even change your name might be an idea.

Also can you please confirm you are in the UK as you are using terminology and currency that suggests you are in US or down under.

I am assuming the $950/month was a typo and that you are in England?

I will continue assuming you are in UK.

"My question is, since we signed a new agreement on 10/2016, does that overwrite the old contract making it not valid?"

If you signed a completely new agreement rather than an extension of the previous agreement then the new agreement stands, but unless you have the agreement he could deny it ever existed.

You yourself use the word renewal, so you need to be clear, was it a completely new contract or just a few pages?

He might even fake a copy of an extension, but if you are in the UK he does not have to as without a legal agreement the tenancy becomes a Statutory Periodic and the terms of the previous contact apply, save dates, which are Landlord must give you 2 months notice and you have to give them 1 month's notice.

If you want to have rights you need paper, but there is another way, bluff and negotiate.

Look, he is going to get you out eventually, so why not say to him "I have taken professional advice and informed that our agreement stands and I am within my rights to resist any attempt to evict me and seek costs if things become protracted.

However, I totally get you want me to move out as does your prospective buyer, so if you are prepared to compensate me for my costs and inconvenience, plus provide me with a stellar reference then I am prepared to start looking for a place now."

Out of pocket expenses may mean he pays for professional removals, any admin fees from an agent, (although I would use Openrent if I were you). Plus a lump sum of anything between £1800 and £7200. The buyer may want to make a contribution to rush things along.

Now if you ARE in the UK and because your landlord and yourself (with respect) seem a little sloppy on the paperwork, then I must ask if the deposit was protected in an authorised scheme?

Even if it was protected in the begining, there is statutory paperwork that has to be issued subject to when the tenancy originally started.

IF you are in the UK and this has been screwed up then there could be a further sanction of up to 3x the deposit to negotiate over.

As I said it depends whether you are in UK?

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