OpenRent Community

Break Clause clarification


#1

Hi,

I realise this topic has been discussed previously, but unfortunately I do not feel confident/understand completely the responses provided to date.

I am 11 months into a 15 month fixed term AST, which includes a mutual break clause. I was hoping to use the break clause to leave 13 months into the contract, however re-reading the clause, the wording is not completely clear.

I believe it is a standard clause used by Openrent, and it goes:
11.5. Any time after twelve months of the initial fixed Term of this tenancy (or after a similar period following a fixed Term extension to the original tenancy) either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months 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.

Can you let me know that if I was to notify (by letter and email) the landlord now (i.e. 2 months before I would like to move out in Month 13) using the mutual break clause of my intention to “invoke” the mutual break clause in Month 13, would this end the tenancy on the date in Month 13 I have requested to end the contract and would this therefore cease legal requirement to pay Month 14 & 15 rent payments.

If the above is not the case, I would be grateful for guidance on the earliest possible time I could notify and invoke the break clause.

Thanks,

Ed


#2

Hi Ed,

If you want to use a break clause to leave at the end of the 13th rental period, then you should serve notice to your landlord at least 2 months before the end of that rental period that you intend to activate this clause and vacate the property on the final day of the 13th rental period.

So if the last day of the rental period is 15th November, you should serve notice so it is receive by the landlord on or before 15th September, since this is two months before 15th November.

If you then moved out on or before 15th November, then the tenancy would be terminated, along with all your tenant obligations and responsibility under the contract (e.g. paying rent).


#3

Hi Sam,

May I just clarify the break clause as I’m in a similar situation.

In Ed’s scenario above, the break clause says “any time after twelve months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy… either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other.”

From your response above, it seems that the tenant can invoke the break clause at month 11, even though the break clause says “any time after twelve months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy…”. Is that right?

In my case, the fixed term is 16 months. The break clause says “any time after ten months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy…either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other.” It is now month 8 and the tenant wants to invoke the clause and to move out in two months. Is that permitted contractually? Or can they only give notice after ten months (and then move out in month 12)?


#4

Hi Chun,

From what you’ve said, i.e you are within a fixed term tenancy of 16 months and your contract states either party can invoke the break clause after ten months, the earliest the tenant will be able to leave (or stop paying rent for) the property legally is twelve months. This is by invoking the two month notice period described in the break clause, at the ten month point of the fixed term.

A tenant can effectively serve a landlord notice at any point in the tenancy, however it will not come in to effect until the period stated in the contract.

For example, if there is a 12 month tenancy and the break clause is set at the 8 month point, the tenant (or landlord) will be able to give the two month notice any time from the start date to the 8 month point (or after if that applies).

However, the notice period of two months will not come in to effect until the 8 month period, so the earliest the tenant is able to leave the property is at the 10 month point (after carrying out their two month notice period after the 8 months stated in the contract).

You may find our article on break clauses useful here:

It’s also useful to know that a tenancy agreement can be mutually ended at any point by mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant. More on this here:

https://blog.openrent.co.uk/surrendering-tenancy-agreement-mutual-consent/

Thanks, Elinor


#6

Thanks Elinor, that’s very helpful.