Me and my partner started a lease in August 2020, we were told by the assistant there was a 6 month break clause and didn’t ditch much more into that. Come the 6 months (assistant no longer works there) we were told it was a landlord only break clause so we couldn’t activate it (admittedly we should have read the fine print), but it was out first place and mistakes happen.
This is only an issue as we just brought our first place (move in date 18th March). It has been listed for tenancy take over on the 28th March (we have prepaid rent until then), but if no-one moves in by then we are liable for the property until august when the full 12 months is completed. As the market is currently slow and viewings are limited, i was wondering from a landlord perspective or from previous tenant experience what would be a fair offer for a tenancy buy out? or if the landlord would even accept that? Just as we are buying a place we are strapped for cash and we don’t have the monthly cash flow to physically pay for this place as well.
Additionally, the property is managed by a property manager so we don’t have direct access to the landlord.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Landlord only break clauses have been ruled unfair contract terms. You may be able to take advantage of consumer rights legislation to demand parity. What exactly does the break clause say?
Hi, that is interesting to know, it says “The tenancy shall start on and include 17th August 2020 and shall end on and include 16th August 2021 but subject to a 6 month break clause.” then goes on further to say “the tenant agrees that the landlord has the right to terminate the tenancy after the first 6 calendar months by giving the tenant no less than 2 calendar months and one week prior notice.”
If there is no equivalent clause for the tenant, then I would be inclined to write a letter to the landlord or agent saying that:
The former Office of Fair Trading ruled that break clauses in tenancy agreements that apply only to the landlord are unfair contract terms. This is also the judgement of the agency that replaced them, the Competition and Markets Authority. (See CMA37 and CMA31). Consequently, you believe that under part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, their clause number … is unfair and that you further believe that a court would uphold this view. Consequently, you wish to exercise the break clause and terminate the tenancy.
If you write to them on this basis, I would be surprised if they try to defend it, but please let us know the outcome.
Thank you, I think this is something we will have to say because we were denied the right to activate the break clause we gave over 2 months notice. But due to the fact we signed a contract stating that the landlord had the right (with no mention of the tenant having a right to activate a break clause), does this not counteract everything?
David has given you the legislation you can quote to prove the contract is unfair and thus potentially void the clause
If they dont accept the argument above, which would be surprising, you should speak to a housing solicitor about whether its safe for you to act on the assumption that the clause should apply to you. Put in a call to Anthony Gold or JMW. The initial conversation will be free and should be enough for you to understand the next step. If you want, you can call before writing.