I am a Landlord myself – Break clause?

by Readers Question

10:11 AM, 30th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

I am a Landlord myself – Break clause?

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I am a Landlord myself – Break clause?

I served a notice on 16th October to terminate my tenancy, according to a 2-months break clause in my contract, expecting to pay only 2 month’s rent till I vacate the property on 15th December.

However, the letting agent has got back to me saying the break clause falls within the statuary law which means the notice must be served in line with the rent due date (1st of each month). Therefore, he claims I am liable to pay rent for an additional 15 days till the end of December.

Now, I believe the agent is not right, trying to overcharge me.

I am a landlord myself and dealt with a fair number of letting agents and tenants over the past 10 years. To my experience, the break clause notice period starts exactly on the day it is served, unless specifically defined otherwise in the contract (which is not the case for me now).

Here is my question: is the letting agent right? If not, on what ground could I challenge his position?

Thanks

Ben


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Comments

Ian Narbeth

10:14 AM, 30th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

Ben
It all depends on the wording of the break clause. Without seeing it we cannot comment.

Jireh Homes

17:22 PM, 30th October 2020
About 4 weeks ago

This was the case in Scotland with the SAT as based on "ish" date. At least with the PRT this complication no longer an issue on the newer leases.

Puzzler

8:48 AM, 31st October 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Even if they are right it can be varied by agreement with the landlord. Some agents don't ask.

Ben

17:54 PM, 1st November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 30/10/2020 - 10:14
Hi Ian,
This is the wording in my contract:

"2 . Break Clause
2.1 On or after 1st June 2020 both the Landlord and tenant may terminate the Tenancy hereby created by giving not less than two months written notice and upon such notice being served the rent hereby reserved shall be adjusted accordingly and upon expiry of such notice the Tenancy hereby created shall determine PROVIDED THAT such prior determination shall not prejudice the right of action of either party against the other in respect of any antecedent breach, or non‐observance of the stipulations and conditions contained therein."

What do you think?

Ian Narbeth

9:41 AM, 2nd November 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Hi Ben
Assuming there are no other provisions that change the situation, this looks like a "rolling break", i.e. the tenancy can be terminated at any time "on or after 1st June 2020" by two months written notice. If this were a commercial lease then the tenant might have to pay rent until the end of the next period and not receive a refund. See e.g. the Marks & Spencer v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company case.
However, it is different with resi leases and moreover the words: "upon such notice being served the rent hereby reserved shall be adjusted accordingly" will be interpreted to mean that a proportion of the monthly rent does not need to be paid and will be apportioned. You should only pay until 15th December.


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