We recently came to the end of a 1 year assured shorthold tenancy. We want to stay in the property, but with some flexibility, and when the landlord asked if we wanted a new one year contract we declined the offer as a rolling contract meets our needs better. However, the landlord is getting a bit agitated by this and has come back with a counter offer which is a one year contract but with a rolling (perhaps not legal terminology) one month break clause - basically meaning that we can give one month’s notice even if within the 12 months and that would end the contract. I haven’t seen the proposed wording yet, but I would assume that’s one month on either sides’ behalf. Even though I know we are well within our rights to just stay on a rolling contract, at this point it feels like compromise might be the best way to approach it as I don’t have the time nor energy to turn this into a protracted debate.
Now as far as I understand it 6 month break clauses (often with two months notice) are quite common for ASTs, but this sounds a little weird to me. So my questions are:
- Is this legally enforceable - i.e. if we for some reason decided in two months time we wanted to leave and served the required notice, would there be any potential complications?
- Does it affect our rights/protections as tenants? I was fairly convinced he would not try and evict us for staying on a periodic tenancy, and understand that would have needed a section 21 anyway which currently would have given us 4 months to find somewhere else and leave. Presumably the main difference with this proposed approach is that the landlord would only have to give us one month’s notice? I’m not too worried about that, to be honest, but would be good to go into this with our eyes wide open
I would advise you to stay on a periodic and give the appropriate notice. Giving a one month notice break clause is like being on a periodic. Just expalin to him it is less of a headache for him if you are on a periodic. He does not have to serve all papers etc etc
I know it’s basically the same, which is why I am not that bothered as long as it’s legally enforceable. Also he’s a bit of a weird bloke and as I said I am not sure I have the energy to be debating this with him constantly
Break clauses usually favour the tenant. That’s because they’re often badly written and unenforceable for the landlord. However, the courts almost always side with a tenant who activates even badly written break clause, as they are the ‘junior’ partner in the contract. Your foolish landlord doesnt realise that a periodic tenancy with an open break clause from month 2 is effectively the same as a periodic tenancy but with lots more admin. On the face of it it sounds good for you, but check the wording of the break clause here before you sign.
I wouldnt try to force a periodic tenancy if I were you. The landlord may take offence and issue a s21 notice, which could ruin your good reputation as a tenant.
Thanks David. Agree that we’d rather settle this amiably, hence why I am happy to try and sign a contract that is basically a periodic tenancy in all but name.
Will make sure to closely check the wording, too.
So, the landlord is probably wanting to make sure you stay for at least a few months. With signing a new term it’s likely included in the contract that you can only give notice after 4 months, i.e. move out after 5.
This is a perfectly good compromise unless you are planning on moving before month 5.
I always tell my tenants before the first contract that I want new one-year contracts signed every year and that I don’t want periodic. I expect them to follow that and so far have had no problems with any of them on this.