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Break clause open rent AST has no indication of when from

My (lovely) tenants (not the rogue ones) have just pointed out this break clause in the Open rent tenancy. It’s very weirdly written!

Mutual Break Clause

The initial term of this tenancy agreement may be terminated by either party giving the other at least 2 months notice in writing, such notice not to expire until at least 6 months after the start of the term. A notice served by the landlord under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 shall be sufficient notice under this clause.

That’s it!!! Nothing about when the break clause can start from like normal 4 months!!! What is going on with their contracts?!!

so dont you take 2 months off backwards IE after 4 months and one day a 2 month notice can be given

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That makes sense but the way it’s written is not understandable to the lay person. My tenants are highly intelligent. Couldn’t it be worded better?

could be better, but isnt it the same with all legal contracts ? There is always something hard to figure out

Thank you for your response. Much appreciated :blush:

It’s clear that it can be served after the first 4 months to expire after 6 months. The problem is that it assumes a 2 month s21 notice but its currently 4 months. Therefore the break would be activated at month 6, making the tenancy periodic and the s21 notice would expire 2 months later, meaning you could then apply for a possession order if the tenant hasn’t left.

I’m not a fan of break clauses. Most are badly written or can have strange effects for the landlord. It would have been better to just have a 6 month initial term and contractual periodic thereafter. The same effect, but much cleaner.

Tbh, I’m not sure a break clause works with a tenancy which is periodic from the start, which the use of the words “initial term” suggests this might be. Hopefully Openrents lawyers are confident of its effect.

Thank you David. These are my lovely tenants who’s contract is coming to an end next week. Of course they can go periodic but they want some protection as 1 October LL notice will return to 2 months notice. I actually don’t mind if they leave before the 6 months as it will be absolutely no problem renting & the prices have escalated so I can increase the rent . We just don’t understand the wording. I don’t mind if they are periodic or on an AST. I’ve just told them to decide which but that I would need to leave the wording.

The crazy thing is. We have been issuing & signing these contracts that don’t really mean anything when they state LL has to give 2 months notice etc. Because we all know this is the true. We have to give 4 right now. Yes tenants can just give 1 months notice no matter what!

Yes, it’s definitely not a level playing field when it comes to notices between tenants and landlords. Yes, they should have protections but as it stands now is just ridiculous.

Just a note: An AST isn’t really much more secure for the tenant in terms of notice. Sure, you can’t serve notice for 4 months but equally they can’t leave for 6 either. Today, with courts backed up, they’d still be protected for a year plus if you go for eviction.

I’m actually a fan of ASTs as I think it gives me more predictability, but most tenants are/would be happier on periodic in my experience.