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 advise, this may not be valid):

20 Mutual breaking clause
Any time after six months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of 60 days 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.

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?

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62 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 12 - 62 comments (out of 62)
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Aisha 4th December, 2012 @ 02:17

in the agreement, its all about moving out early than the fixed term and nothing mentioned if i refuse to move into the property .... i have signet the tenancy agreement but i m physically not he tenant yet

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Jeremy 4th December, 2012 @ 21:51

Hello Aisha,

You may not like this advice, but...

You have signed a tenancy agreement. You are legally oblidged to fulfil the conditions even though you have not yet moved in.

If you have changed your mind then the law expects the landlord to re-market the property promptly to cut his rental income lost to a minimum. But the landlord can expect you to pay the balancing amount up to what he would have lost.

Bearing in mind December is a very slow month for people taking out new rental agreements, the offer from the agents seems an appropriate approximation of the financial loss you are likely to cause the landlord and are legaly required to pay him.

Whether you have moved in or not is not relevent. Imagine, on moving in day, a landlord said to you they had changed their mind on some whim and you could no longer live there. That would cause you serious grief. The law expects him to hold to his promise of making the flat available to you and it also expects you to follow through on your promise to move in.

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dawson 10th December, 2012 @ 16:17

I have a tenant who made contract minimum live 6 months.
Also I noticed before they moved n do not pa late due day however they paid very late every week after.
Now they live only 2 month and noticed to me just one week before the pay day. In this case should I give back all deposit or not?
Please let me know.

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Tangy 23rd July, 2013 @ 11:42

had to shift to another country for work due to which I needed to vacate my accommodation in London two months prior to the end date. I had explained the situation to my landlord over the email. He had first said that I could return my keys and he will then refund the security deposit. I had returned the keys on June 15th.

However, he is now demanding the remaining two-month rent saying there is a no-break clause in my agreement. My lease expires on Aug 25th.

I just wanted to get basic advice if anything can be done in this regard.

Really appreciate it.


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Robert 26th July, 2013 @ 18:02

I moved in on an Assured Short-hold tenancy of 1 year from 24 january 2011 to 24 january 2012, then have stayed on ever since on a periodic month to month. The rent is £750.00 a month and I paid £1038 deposit and £750.00 in advance. Therefore I pay rent in advance and my deposit with the agent deposit scheme. I have now been given 2 months notice to quit. So am I still obligated to pay rent over the next 2 months considering I pay one month in advance and they have my deposit? I will need my deposit and rental between this period to move to the next place of abode. Can I just stop paying the rent and move out on the agreed date at the end of the 2nd month? Please help urgently! Thanks

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Aditya Kumar 29th July, 2013 @ 16:11

I entered in AST tenancy agreement on 22nd June 2013 but due to the bad behaviour and idiotic terms of Landlord (he wants to inspect the flat every week for first 3 months) i wanted to surrender the tenancy to which the Landlord refused. I have a 6 month break clause as i had specified to the Agency and Landlord at the on-set itself that i would leave after 6 months. However the break clause is confusing about whether i have to serve the notice of 2 months after the break clause i.e. after 6 months (in which case if will have to vacate after 8 months) or i can serve the notice at the end of 4th month and vacate after end of 6 months. The break Clause is written as follows "This is a 12-month agreement with two month's notice, but also has a 6 month clause two months' notice. This is a 6 months Break Clause where the tenant must give two months notice." So can i leave in 6 months or will i have to stay till 8 months?

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ashleigh 3rd August, 2013 @ 15:38

PLEASE can someone help me i have moved into property 16th feb 2013 its a 12 month assured tenanncy its a two bed house there is me a daughter aged 12 son age 5 my two kids share a room. i am on council list been offered council house. Can i end tennancy on the case that i reported a bedroom double glazed window which is also a firs escape window which will not open and needs lock replacing to be fixed for 5 months now and they still not done it every week im phoning about it chasing it up also i pay 115.00 rent a week where council property been offered is 70.00 so is much more affordably.please can some one help me thank you

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Kayleigh Bennett 6th August, 2013 @ 10:55

We had a 12 month contract with a 6 month break but were under the understanding that the landlord didn't want to do anything with the property and that it's definitely a very long term lent. 4 months in to our lease we got section 21 asking us to vacate on Oct 30th which will being our 7 month here. We have no savings so we have no deposit or reference fees or agency fees to be able to move by October 30th. The agency have lied to us from day one, we've had nothing but trouble with the lettings manager and now we will be homeless with 2 kids under 6 years old! A break clause is a joke and I'll never agree to one again

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karina 24th November, 2013 @ 22:17

Hi, I am French and I paid 6 months rent for a house in London in September and decided not to go back to London after all. I talked to my landlord who told me I could not leave the house within three months and the only way for me to get my money back is if I find a new tenant.
The three months notice is coming to an end and the landlord is not willing to give me my money back unless I find a new tenant.
In France it is illegal not to pay back tenants after the 3 months notice.
I would like to know if he has the right to demand that I find a new tenant before giving me my money back.
Thanks in advance for the help.

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andy 4th December, 2013 @ 19:56

hi ok so we are tenants. we have a 2 year contract with a break clause after 12 months, we now want to/ might need to, use this, but, look to move to a standard form of contract or would have to under the break clause give notice.
Our circumstances have changed and we might be having to move in 2 months February (Work related) if not though we want to stay were we are we have been in the village for 6 years and would happily stay for another if this opportunity falls through.
we would know by the first week of january so timing is bad or good which ever way but can't be stuck for another year paying rent if we do move.
What is the legal situation our year break clause is December 29th we will know by january 7th so one side says we can't miss the opportunity so will have to give the notice by the 29th december but with 2 young children we can't afford to move and keep paying the rent but can't again be homeless which is what will happen if the new work doesn't happen.

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dawn 11th December, 2013 @ 09:56

Hi i need some advice please, i had a 12 month tenancy started on feb 8th 2013 and in the tenancy this included a break out clause i was required to give the landlord one months notice on the rent due date. i have done this and paid all my rent up to date and left the property in a very good state considering reason for moving was extreme damp which caused me to be ill and i have been referred to a chest specialist. i have not heard anything back from the estate agents yet regarding deposit am i still entilted to receive my deposit back as i owe no money and they cannot put tenants in the property until they sort out the damp problem which i had been contacting them about for months ????

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ashleigh 11th December, 2013 @ 10:06

To dawn yes you are entitled for your full deposit back. Did you get a certificate that your bond was paid into a bond security account. Basically it will state that your bond was paid to a specfic company and there contact details. You would normally have to wait 10 days after you have moved out of the property. Also have you had your last walk around inspection? As long as all is left clean tidy reasonable condition and monies paid you are entitled to get your bond/deposit back hope this helps

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Valentino 11th December, 2013 @ 13:14

My 2 year tenancy has expired oktober 2008, ever since I pay my rent every month. Now suddenly (more then 5 years later) my landlord is asking me to sign a new tenancy of 2 years with an "break clause" from 1 month for both parties.
Wy I do need a new tenancy? and what's in it for me?
If I don't sign what are my rights?

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Aditya Kumar 11th December, 2013 @ 14:16

If you have left the property with proper break clause (and if they have acknowledged it) and they had not protected your deposit with and Deposit schemes you can report the matter to "Tenancy Relationship officer (sometimes called as Landlord/ Tenant mediation officer)" of your concil or can even approach court in which case you will get your entire deposit back (irrespective of in what condition you have handed the property back) plus some compensation as well (which can be upto three times the deposit value.

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Valentino 11th December, 2013 @ 15:58

Over the years, new regulations have been passed through I know. Point being, My landlord allowed the contract to continually be periodic for a long period of time (5 years), it can slowly become out of date.

When becomes a contract out of date?

Thanks in advance!

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lemonroyale 6th January, 2014 @ 18:11

Can you tell me what this means please?
My clause!

"Both parties have the right to terminate the tenancy at the end of the first six month period only from the commencement date by giving not less than two months notice (at the end of month four) in writing to that effect and upon the expiration of such notice this agreement and everything herein contained shall cease and be void subject nevertheless to the right of parties in respect of any antecedent breach of any of the covenants herein contained."

Does this mean i can only leave at 6months in and 12months in? Or does it mean i can leave any time after 6months (giving 2months notice) ?


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PRERNA 14th January, 2014 @ 14:17


I have a Question.

My landlord has used a break clause and has given us a notice period of 60 days ending in March 2014.

Now I have found a house within 15 days and the new landlord wants us to move immediately.

Does it means that I have to pay rent for both the places as I will be shifting in new house immediately.

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Rohit 9th February, 2014 @ 23:28


I need a advice if anybody can ,
My 6 month contract is ending on 27 -FEB-2014 and I have served the notice to Agency on 31-JAN-2014 that I am vacating the property on 27-FEB-2014.
My rent pay date is 31St of Each Month ( 30 for odd months)
Now the agency is asking me to stay till march -14 as I have servered the notice on 31-JAn (which is start of next rental period) so my 1 month notice will be considered in next month (march-14)
Is it right ? or agency is just trying to making money from me ? can I vacate the property on 27th Feb?
Any advise / help is much appriciated.


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Aditya 10th February, 2014 @ 13:08

Hi Rohit,

Was your contract for 6 months only? Was it ending on 27th Feb 2014? If it was then, I guess, you do not even have to give the notice. And yes you can vacate on 27th Feb. However, if your contract was longer and you want to break your contract in between using the break clause then you should have given the notice little earlier (on or before 27th Jan 2014). You just got late by 3-4 days and the Agency can indeed ask you to stay longer (Could you please provide the exact wordings of your break clause and the notice period).


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Jeffery 3rd March, 2014 @ 15:43

I have three bedroom house and rented it out to couple with one small kid. Inside my tenancy agreement I have 6 month break clause and 12 month fixed tenancy.

When visiting the property within 2 month I was surprised he converting the leaving room into his bedroom and all the other room his renting out to different families. I have notice a lot of weir and tear. can I invoke the break clause.

How hard would it be to evict them. Does it have tendancy to drag through court.

Please The family passed credit and landlord reference before moving in.

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Gabriel 16th March, 2014 @ 17:17

I'm a tenant. I signed for a 2 year Tenancy Agreement with a break clause after the first 12 months. After 10 months the Landlord has given me a 2 months notice to leave the property. Can he do that or he should have to wait until month 12 to submit that notice?

Is this notice valid even if we had a verbal agreement to stay at the property for the first 24 months?

What would happen in case I cannot leave the property on due date? Due to personal issues I might need to stay for 2 more months.

Many thanks,


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danielle 7th May, 2014 @ 16:25

We have a house that is rented out in Feb for a year which appears their is no break clause informed by the estate agent I can only give notice at 10months, my partner since this has walked out leaving me and two young boys, now selling the house we are in I need to be able to move the boys back to the rented house with as less duress as possible , I am concerned we will be homeless for a while between houses if I can not get the tenants out, I don't want these boys shoved pillor to post ..is there anything ANYTHING at all I can do to get these tenants out early from this contract? Thank you any advice much appreciated

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Claire 14th May, 2014 @ 13:10

I'm in such a tricky place right now. The basics are that on 19th July 2013 we signed a 6 month tenancy. Few hick ups along the way but the estate agents did sort things out, but with no care to us. They just dealt with things and clearly displayed their annoyance on the way. 19th June 2013 arrives and we receive a letter stating we had to contact them with payment to renew the lease if that's what we wanted to do or issue them with 1 months notice if we wanted to leave. The weekend on 19th July we attend their office and paid £80 and renewed for another 6 months but this time they had increased the rent by £25.00

Now here comes the interesting bit. On Sunday 4th May we had a leak in our living room. We informed the management and our estate agent and we was reassured that while we was away for the week someone would attend the flat to assess and fix.

When we returned on friday 9th May we was told that the agents would be sent in out a contractor to fix the damage (paint the ceiling as the leak had stopped) and that the flat above us had denied all knowledge of a leak.

Sunday at 3 am in the morning we was awoken to our fire alarms going off. The short story is that 2 flats above us had left their tap running for a few hours and between 3 am and 6 am we had an indoor waterfall. The damage is that bad that it is going to be an insurance claim. And we all know how slow those things can be.

Now the property is livable and other than the electrics need check (which he estate agents keep saying oh they will be fine don't worry) visibly all the damage seems to be to the ceiling by way of dirty water marks. Also the fire alarm system is shot and need looking at which is being done today.

The smell in the flat is horrific, and can only be compared to that of an open sewer. It is to the point that we are sustaining headache and it is waking us up during the night.

Over the past couple of days we have decided that we want out of their asap. However our agreement isn't until 18th July. We can't put up with that that long. The estate agents are simply saying their is nothing they can do as it is an insurance claim and it could take anything from weeks to months. ........

What legal stance do we have to get out?

We don't have a break clause in our agreement, however I did find that in both agreement a paragraph that states within the first 12 months of occupancy they will jot increase the rent, however they did this upon renewal of the contract. I'm wondering if this is our way out? But these estate agents can talk their way out of a paper bag. I'm almost certain they will say that this doesn't count as it's a new contract.

I'm dreading going home to that smell again and don't know how much longer we can put up with it.

Please help?

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Claire 16th May, 2014 @ 00:07

Just an update as to what's happened today.

A dehumidifier has been installed and I have been told I will be Reimbursed for the electrical cost of its use. It is getting rid of water and of the smell slowly which is great news.

However we are still sick with worry and want out. I've read the lease again to say and it turns out that the wording of the first 6 month lease was £425 rent plus additional £25 for parking and the 2nd 6 month lease says £475 rent and mentions nothing about the parking.

So in black and white it states that in the first 6 months the rent has increased by £50 a month, however it states that the rent will not be increased in the first 12 months.

Am I right in saying goes that :

A) they have breached part of the contract, and
B) they owe me £50 for each month paid over the initial 6 months (£200 soon to be £250 on Monday when the rent is due)

Again any help would be gratefully appreciated!

Many thanks

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David 2nd June, 2014 @ 14:51

@Claire you are right, your landlord is failing to provide you with habitable accomodation. On that basis he is in breach of contract.

You have to determine how that affects you, if 25% of the property is affected then you would deduct 25% of the rent.

I would not accept being charged for parking, it is an old trick and I would reject it.

I think it is reasonable for you to leave and say that due to the breach the contract is void. If they want to take you to Court they can try but Court fees increased recently and considering they will be able to claim in their insurance I would just go.

A judge is not going to expect you to live in substandard property. You are still entitled to your deposit back as this has nothing to do with you damaging flat. If they try to take it complain to deposit holders.

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claire 2nd June, 2014 @ 15:04

I wrote them a letter last week (recorded delivery) stating that they have breached their contract in charging us 50 a month more and therfore we expect this money to be returned to us immediately along with confirmation that the remaining months rent will be reduced to 425 a month, but they haven't been in touch.

I've been told I've got more than a fighting chance in court and judge would rule in my favour, but not to sure how to go about it. I'm thinking write them another letter demanding a response in 7 days or ill issue a small claim against them? My understanding is that as the amount is below 300 it will only cost 25-35 in fees??

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David 3rd June, 2014 @ 15:59

A firmly worded letter saying that you require an immediate refund or you will be forced to hold the money from rent (if you are going to stay) in "lien" for the alleged debt and that money will be paid to a 3rd party.

You tell them you wish to avoid legal action but will be forced to file a County Court claim if they do not provide the refund promptly. Give them 14 days, send two copies, one via normal mail and one by recorded a day later. Explain that if you are forced to go to Court you will have to claim for your full costs including consequential loss as you have given them the opportunity to avoid the legal action.

If you go to Court you pay the disputed sum into Court so the Judge can see you have not gone on a spending spree but paid a proportion of money you owe taken as a lien on money they owe you.

Personally I think you are being very reasonable, if a ceiling falls in and there is damp you can get ill from mould and the place is not habitable.

You should leave and let them claim on their insurance who will in turn claim in the idiot upstairs.

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claire 5th June, 2014 @ 16:24

Need help again guys.

Just talking about the rental contract at the moment, forgetting any damage to the property in relation to the flood.

I sent a letter to the estate agents saying that I believed they have breached their contract in charging more in and that I wanted the money back basically.

They have written back to me and said that due to shortage of good quality letting particularly in Bradford they quiet rightly raised the rent by £25 a month and we were more than willing at the time. (At he time we didn't have a choice and we didn't know that they had a clause in their contract stating they wouldn't up the rent)

They say that they will not return any money to us and that as per their t&c the rent is 475 and we are obliged to pay.

Then at the end they say

'Obviously upon the expiration of your present tenancy if you feel you no longer wish to renew we have immediately available prospective tenants willing to take over the property'

In other words 'If you don't like it then leave'

I'm absolutely ragging inside yet I don't know what to do next? Surely they can't do this?????

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Caramoochie 24th August, 2014 @ 08:06

I have a question about the effect a period tenancy has on the DPS. My understanding is the DPS has to be registered every time a new tenancy is entered into. So if a tenant has a 6 month tenancy and then enters into a 12 month tenancy after the initial tenancy a new DPS has to be registered. Is this the case with a periodic tenancy - effectively every month the tenancy could either be extended or it could be viewed as a new monthly tenancy being entered into. What if anything do you need to do about the DPS and periodic tenancies? At the very minimum I think it would need to be registered at the start of the periodic tenancy as this is a change in the tenancy agreement, albeit the tenancy continues. The risks to the Landlord are obvious - get it wrong and risk a fine 3 x the amount of the deposit! I would welcome your expert thoughts The Landlord.

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Adv 19th October, 2014 @ 17:36

A tennent gave me 3 weeks notice but her tenancy agreement started on 5 June 6 month how much notice do I need

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Ana 24th November, 2014 @ 19:19


Can someone who's been in the same situation answer to the next question.
When you have a 12months agreement and you use(enforce) a 6 month break with 2 months notice but at the end of notice, the agency fails to find a new tenant, will i be obliged to pay the rent until new tenant moves in or at the end of notice all the obligations and responsabilities cease?

Here are some relevant information from the agreement:
"you will have the property and the furniture for 12 months (to include a six month break clause with two months written notice)
"If you are going to give us notice that you are going to leave the property before this agreement has ended, you must pay our reasonable costs for re-letting the property as well as paying the rent until a new tenant moves in"


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Jonathan 30th November, 2014 @ 12:59

Thanks for the interesting article.
Quick question though. I have a 6-month fixed-term contract; however, there is a line in the AST that reads "The landlord may end the agreement at any time by serving 15 days' notice". Is this an illegal attempt at a break clause? It seems to read "it's a 6 month contract, but I can do whatever I like".
They have not secured my deposit, and it has taken them a month to repair the hot water and oven, so I'm thinking of causing a stink. But I don't want this 15 day break clause to be invoked just before Christmas!
Thanks for any advice.

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Jimmy 30th December, 2014 @ 12:44

Could someone please tell me in what method should the notice to end an AST using the below break clause take.

Notwithstanding the fixed term stated in Clause 1 of the Main Terms of the Tenancy, the Parties hereby agree that this Agreement may be terminated by either party giving to the other at least two months notice in writing, such notice not to expire until after six months of the start date of the Term. 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
Should the Tenancy be terminated on a date which is not the last day of a rental period then the Tenant’s obligation to pay rent shall cease on the termination date and the rent payment will be apportioned accordingly

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Jessica 30th January, 2015 @ 03:27

Please I need help to understand this break clause. I moved into a 3bedroom property with my six year old daughter, I made it clear to the estate agent, that I need at least a 12month contract. They assured me that the landlord is not in this country, therefore, it is going to be a long term. Just three months into the property, the agent on behalf of the landlord has served me with the break clause in tenancy. My question is, can I refuse to move out? Can I ask the landlord to take me to court to repossess her property? Because, it is not fair when I met the landlord personally during viewing and she stated she was looking for someone with a longterm rental. I'm soo angry and frustrated. Thank you.

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David 11th February, 2015 @ 16:22

Hey Jessica

The minimum period for an assured shorthold tenancy is 6 months.

What exactly did they give you, was it a formal legal notice or did they just write to you and tell you?

Are they giving you notice now that they intend to end the tenancy then or now?

Did they issue and you sign a Section 21 notice when you moved in?

If NOT, I would sit tight, wait until the informal notice expires but do not move out.

Another delaying factor is whether they protected your deposit and whether they issued you with the prescribed information telling you where your deposit was protected within 30 days of taking that deposit.

Many agents are completely useless in this regard.

The thing is, if they have not issued a proper section 21 notice, (it has to be worded properly, particularly with the end date being a rent date and it has to have two clear months notice. Then the notice is invalid, but no point telling them mow, wait until it expires then tell them.

Under English law a verbal contract has as much validity as a written contract, so if you have any proof or witness regarding the length of the tenancy, then you can use that to dispute what the agreement says. You should not really have signed an agreement with a break clause if you wanted to stay longer, even if you sign your signature with a disguised UD to signify under duress, it is something.

If they did not issue you with the prescribed information telling you where the deposit was protected, then even a formal S21 notice is invalid.

If they have just written to you exercising the break clause without issuing a section 21 then ignore it and wait till it expires and they will have to issue a S21 with the statutory 2 months notice, it has to expire on a rent due date. For example if you usually pay your rent on the 28th of the month and they issue the notice on January 29th then the ealiest day the notice can expire is the 28th of April because it needs two clear months from the date of service.

If you find they have not followed the legal procedure, there is no point telling them now, wait until the notice they have given expires and tell them you will not be leaving as they have not followed the correct legal procedure.

If they ask what exactly, say "I am not legally qualified to give advice" but I have been assured you are not in compliance with the housing act.

Meanwhile have a look around for a new place because eventually you will have to leave.

I suggest that you call Shelter on their helpline and get some basic advice.

If you want to be re-housed into social housing, the Local Council will advise you NOT to move out even if they have everything legally correct. They want to delay matters until the Court orders your eviction, it can take up to 6 weeks from the S21 expiring to get a Court date, then if the S21 is valid the Judge will give 2 to 6 weeks as long as there are no rent arrears.

As you have a child the Council will give you priority for social housing, they may put you in temporary accomodation for a while first, you will be obliged to take what is offered as temporary accomodate, you will then be able to "bid" on social properties and will be told where you are on the list.

Don't worry, even if they have followed all legal procedures, you have time. Minimum Fixed term tenancy is 6 months, so if they exercised a six month break clause and now have issued you a S21 notice and the deposit has been protected THEN issue you with the prescribed information, then you still have 3 months.

I can imagine how you feel, I have kids and explained to a landlord that I wanted a long let but he wanted me out after a year to get a higher rent as he would not get it if I appealled the increase.

Feel free to post here for anything you need me to clarify.

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David 11th February, 2015 @ 16:32


You are in the money, if they have not protected the deposit and not issued you with the prescribed information they are liable for Section 214 sanctions of up to 3x the deposit plus the deposit back.

No tenancy can overide the Housing Act, often there are break clauses for failure to adhere to any term with stupid dates like 15 days or even 5 days, but they are invalid.

Anyone this stupid will struggle to issue the proper notice (a section 21 notice, that ends on the right day. You can even let them take you to Court if you know it is invalid, you issue a counter claim on a 244 form. They then have to pay your costs and you get the sanctions. They then have to issue a new notice.

Best to do it as soon as possible as there are changes in the law coming.

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David 11th February, 2015 @ 16:34


Although that is worded to coincide with a S21, the S21 notice still has to be issued, still has to be legal and a prerequisite is that the deposit has been protected and the tenant informed within 30 days.

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Magdalena 28th February, 2015 @ 14:32

i cannot agree with the following:

Personally, I’d rather just issue my tenant with a 6 month tenancy agreement. That way, even if the tenant fails to vacate after 6 months, the Judge should give me possession immediately because the tenancy has expired, no questions asked.

The tenancy becomes a periodic automatically, so the tenants still have the right to stay. Therefore if you want your tenant to leave you must serve a two months notice- Section 21. If the tenancy has expired it doesnt mean the you can get possession immediately.


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Leanne McGinty 3rd March, 2015 @ 20:52

Looking for some advice regarding my tenancy. I was due to vacate my tenancy but my circumstances changed and I needed to remain in my flat. The landlord agreed to another 6 month contract with a one month break clause meaning I could give a months notice when my house became available. I have since been to the letting agent to give notice as house is now ready. Assuming I could give a month notice. They have told me that I cannot give a months notice until the 22nd march (as contract was drawn up on 22nd feb) meaning I am unable to move until 22nd April. I was under the understanding that the one month break clause was months notice no matter when I served it. Am I wrong?!

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hrice 8th March, 2015 @ 21:13

Just received notice from my landlord of 4 years.i have a short assured tenancy. I complained about repairs not being done and he gave me one month notice using the break clause of one month either way.
My deposit of 1800 back in 2012 was noted in the agreement as one month due prior to the start of the contact and one month on 16th of every month. I now notice the new agreement referees to one month in advance only.
Also note the agreement is only for 9 months and not 12.
My rent is up to date I'm a good tenant bur the shed has been getting fixed for 4 years and the door lock two Weeks.
Think I'm in for a tough time. Advice would be great.

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David 11th March, 2015 @ 11:54


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


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


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

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


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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