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Checking break clause notice period

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1413 views 1 replies latest reply: 09 February 2015
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Tenant

Hi

My family recently started renting a property on a 12 month lease with 6 month break clause from 6 Oct 2014.

Unfortunately last week our landolord informed us verbally shortly after in writting that he had split up with his wife and for personal reasons required to move back into the property.  This is within the 6 month break clause which is due to end in April. 

Under the break clause it states (or our interpretation is that the landlord can only serve a two month notice AFTER the 6 month break clause has passed as per the contract:

Break Clause

Landlord – Should the Landlord die or become incapacitated or require the Premises he shall have the right to end the Tenancy hereby created by giving to the Tenant not less than TWO MONTHS previous notice in writing to that effect provided such notice is not given before the expiry of the first SIX MONTHS of the Tenancy when at the end of such notice the Tenancy hereby created shall absolutely cease and end without prejudice to the rights of the Landlord and Tenant against each other in respect of any breach of any terms contained in this agreement and for the avoidance of doubt it is agreed that in the event that the Tenant gives notice that he wishes to extend the Tenancy the TWO MONTH period of notice required to end the Tenancy may be given at any time thereafter without waiting for the expiration of a SIX MONTH period.

Tenant – If at anytime after the expiry of the first FOUR MONTHS of the Tenancy the Tenant should wish to vacate the Premises he may by giving to the Landlord not less than TWO MONTHS notice in writing specifying the exact date of departure, be entitled to end the Tenancy hereby created when at the end of such notice and the Tenant having given up vacant possession the Tenancy hereby created shall absolutely cease and end without prejudice to the rights of the Landlord and Tenant against each other in respect of any breach of any terms contained in this agreement and for the avoidance of doubt it is agreed that in the event that the Tenant gives notice that he wishes to extend the tenancy the TWO MONTH period of notice required to end the Tenancy may be given at any time thereafter without waiting for the expiration of a FOUR MONTH period.

We would like a second opinion as to what the contract stipultes to remove any doubt before we raise this with the landlord and the managaemnt compnay who drafted the contract.

Thank you for your help

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Administrator

Hi Scott

If you want a legal opinion then you will need to speak to a lawyer – there are a number of free law centres in the UK that you can visit to get this for free.

I’m not sure exactly what process your landlord is trying to use without more information on the written communication you received but if they’ve got any sense it won’t be the break clause – as you said it does seem to say that the notice can only be given when the six months has expired.

In terms of what else landlord can do to get back into the property and when:

Normally, with an assured shorthold tenancy with a fixed period (the first six months) the landlord can serve two months notice (under section 21) but that notice must not come to an end before the fixed period does and various conditions must be fulfilled. So, essentially the first date that this type of notice can end on is the last day of the fixed period. More info here.

However, there are a number of ‘grounds’ that the landlord can use to give notice inside a fixed period – and move you out before the end of a fixed period – and one of those is where the landlord wants to move back in (Ground 1). To do this the landlord must have lived in the property as their principle home at some time before your tenancy started. They must also have given you notice that they might need to move back in at some point at the start of the tenancy (this ‘notice’ will most likely be buried in your tenancy agreement somewhere – look out for mention of the Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2 Grounds for Possession).

If you look at the legislation itself (and I’m not a lawyer so have a quick look and form your own opinion) it seems that section 8(4A)(B) requires that a notice that is given on the basis of Ground 1 possession should be for at least two months. So, if they are using this method your landlord needs to give you you a specific section 8 notice (it should state that it’s being given in accordance with section 8) and at least two months to move out.

Is that helpful? It’s difficult to answer your question without knowing exactly what the landlord said and when they are asking you to go.

Alex 

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