Break Clause Advice Please

(9 Posts)
Nix01 Fri 27-Jun-14 10:03:47

Hi all,

Please could someone give me their input on my situation please.

We struggled to find somewhere to rent in our small village and as such have taken a smaller property as the agent verbally said it's a minimum of 6 months tenancy.

I've read through the contract and there is no reference to a break clause after 6 months, will we be forced to stay for the 12 month term?

Relevant bits and bobs from the contract:

^This is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement under the Housing Act 1988 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996).

2(e) The Deposit has been taken for the following purposes:

2(e)(2) The reasonable costs incurred in compensating the Landlord for, or for rectifying or remedying
any major breach by the Tenant of the Tenant's obligations under the Tenancy Agreement, including
those relating to the cleaning of the Property, its Fixtures and Fittings; any costs incurred by the
Landlord or the Landlord’s Agent in re-letting the Property if in breach of this Agreement the Tenant
vacates the Property prior to the end of the fixed Term unless the termination is in compliance with a
break clause; and any housing benefit which is clawed back by the local authority from the Landlord or
the Landlord’s Agent.

Term 12 MONTHS FIXED TERM

This Agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and on signing the document the Tenant will pay the following amounts of money (which have been previously notified to the Tenant.)

Initial Rent for the period from 2nd July 2014 to 1st August 2014

5.1 This Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is for a fixed period of TWELVE MONTHS.

5.2 During the first TWELVE MONTHS of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy the Landlord or his Agent will give to the Tenant in writing TWO MONTHS Notice if it is his intention to repossess the Property at the end of the initial term and the Tenant will give TWO MONTHS written Notice if it is his intention to vacate the Property at the end of the initial term. Such Notice by either party must coincide with a rent day.

5.3 The Landlord and Tenant may bring the Tenancy to an end at any time before the expiry of the Term (but not earlier than TWELVE MONTHS from the Commencement Date or the Date of this Agreement whichever shall be the later) with the Landlord giving to the Tenant not less than TWO MONTHS written notice stating that the Landlord requires possession of the Premises and if the Tenant wants to vacate by giving to the Landlord not less than TWO MONTHS written notice of intention to vacate the premises with Notices being served on or before a rent date. ^

kronenborg Fri 27-Jun-14 11:23:58

my take: if you signed a 12 month fixed term tenancy agreement with no break, then you're stuck for 12 months.

unfortunately, proving the agent said something different will be nigh on impossible.

the only possibility you have is to go through the agent to ask if the landlord would be prepared to try and re-let the property before the end of your contract - if he is, and a suitable tenant is found, he may be prepared to let you exit early from the contract without paying the full term.

otherwise i'm afraid i think you're going to have to sit out the 12 months (make sure you remember to provide written notice at month 10), or be prepared to pay for the full 12 months even if you vacate early.

thesaurusgirl Fri 27-Jun-14 11:28:00

Have you actually signed the AST contract? If you haven't, ask for the break clause to be made explicit within its terms.

If you signed even though the break clause wasn't explicit, then I'm afraid you're stuck. Read and query the small print before you sign anything where tenancies are concerned.

If you have signed a 12 month Fixed Term AST then you will have to pay for the 12 months. As Kronenborg states the LL might agree to ending the tenancy HOWEVER this will incur additional agency fee's by the LL so if it were me I would not agree. We have been asked once and agreed once, as we wanted them out anyway as they were slowing wrecking the place.

Nix01 Fri 27-Jun-14 12:06:38

Thank you, I haven't signed it yet as I couldn't see the break clause.

Permanentpanicmode Fri 27-Jun-14 13:30:35

A standard AST would be for 12 months with a minimum fixed term of 6 months; if you wanted to break at 6 months, the Tenant has to give one month's notice, the LL two. Just go back and ask for the reference to the 12 months fixed term to be removed, or ask for the break to be made explicit. It sounds as though (possibly) the agent is telling you one thing and his client another...!

kronenborg Fri 27-Jun-14 13:51:29

whoops - i misunderstood - i thought you had signed, and the tenancy was underway. apologies.

labeesknees Fri 27-Jun-14 14:00:00

The EA had been hoping that you wouldn't notice. We were in a similar situation and paid 6 months up front to secure the place. We asked for a break clause and he wrote it so that if we carried on renting we would have to pay the next 6 months up front again.

Read it very carefully, they are chancers.

specialsubject Fri 27-Jun-14 18:45:07

chancing or cock-up, either way it is for you to spot. What you want is a 12 month with a break at six, which means you must stay for six months but after that you can go at notice.

and also the standard notice from the tenant is one month, from the landlord two.

make sure the landlord is involved in this, agents do the minimum work and contacting the landlord is extra work. (just been yelling at my agent who can't be bothered to pick up phones!)

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