Break clause after 6 months

Hi, I want to end an AST which has a break clause. We signed a 3 year tenancy as we rent with a property management company and this is their standard contract. We want to move out after 1 year and our tenancy agreement says the following:

  1. Tenant break clause
    The total term certain of the Tenancy is a contractual requirement upon the Tenant(s). The Tenant is contractually required to pay the rent for the whole duration of the term certain.
    The Tenant may terminate their tenancy at any time from the end of the initial six month period of the contract by giving two months notice in writing; (email is sufficient). This period of notice must expire on a rent day, for the avoidance of doubt this is to be the 1st day of each and every month. Therefore the earliest opportunity to serve two months notice would be the first day of the sixth month, to terminate on the last day of the eighth month. Failure to give this written notice will result in the Tenant being liable for a further two months rent until they do serve the contractually bound notice.
    Should the Tenant wish to break their contract before the expiry date, they must take full responsibility for re-letting their room/flat/house, including all advertising costs. Any such action would deem the contract as being renewed and therefore subject to a rental increase. The Landlord must approve the new tenant before the new tenant moves into the property.

Am I truly responsible for the subsequent 2 years worth of rent?!? I’ve never heard of this before and from my understanding there is absolutely no point in moving if we are responsible and so we’re tied in for another 2 years. Please help!

To me this clause does not make sense: too many things are mixed into one clause. It implies it was not professionally created.

The break clause clearly allows you to leave after six months, as I understand it, without the need to pay for the remainder of the three years rental period, or any other costs!

The advertising request, bearing in mind the landlord hoped you would stay for three years and if, and only if, you were leaving say within the first eighteen months, seems reasonable, but is not reasonable in my view within the last few months leading up to the end of the three years. I suspect this is an unfair contract term and not enforceable. In any case, if you leave without seeking a replacement tenant, they would have to take you to court and demonstrate that they took all reasonable and prompt measures to re-rent the property, and going to court is not worth the cost and stress of doing so, especially as you can quote Open Rent fees to the court as ‘reasonable fees’! Also, demanding these costs may not be enforceable due to the Tenant Fees Act, as such costs must be born by the landlord - but I don’t know if a contract term can over-ride the law!

Seeking a new tenant resulting in you having to pay a rental increase is totally unenforceable: they would have to issue you a new contract that you can decline, and only after they had accepted your leaving notice, or you accepted their notice to leave!

If you do decide to leave and find a tenant on behalf of your landlord, then you could do so using Open Rent, as this is cheapest service that meets the contract requirement. However, satisfying the landlord as to accepting your choice of tenant is lacking any criteria of acceptance, so the landlord needs to choose based on the referencing, etc. that you pay for. If you choose this route, I suggest that you put to the landlord that they do they work of selecting people to view, attending viewings, etc. and that you are willing to pay the Open Rent fees that you consider to be reasonable, specifying what you consider to be reasonable, e.g. pay for up to three prospective persons to be referenced.

Your best bet is to seek legal advice if still concerned. Good luck.