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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10973
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing to get a legal advice regarding

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Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to get a legal advice regarding an office rent contract in London. On 3rd of September 2012 I signed the contract for 12 month with a stated 3 months’ notice period. This September (18.09.2014) I wrote my office manager to give “official notice” that I want to end the contract. But I got a reply that I cannot end the contract until September 2015 due to agreement terms. Here are the agreement terms (that were printed on the second page in small font and I actually haven’t signed that page): “This Agreement begins on the Commencement Date and (subject to Clause 10.1 – that says that if I don’t pay fee on time or cause major damages the office group can terminate the contract with me any time) , unless it is terminated by either party giving the other written notice at least equal to the Notice Period expiring only at the end of the Initial Period, will automatically be extended for the same duration as the Initial Licence Period (“the Extension Period”) and on the same terms, other than the Monthly Licence Fee (which will increase every 12 months on the anniversary of the Commencement Date by 3.5) and “Extension Period” substituted for “Initial Period”. Any Extension Period may be terminated by either party giving the other written notice at least equal to the Notice Period to expire only at the end of the Extension Period.”
I never received any email from the office group with the notice that my contract is extending and it is the ONLY time I can give notice and terminate it. When I pointed out to them that 1 year is quite a commitment, they said that is the minimum rent period they offer. Although when I asked my friend to contact them and ask about minimum rent period the same office group gave him an answer of 3 months.
Now my office manager says that the only way out for me is if they find another client to occupy my office (there is no word of such terms in the contract). Is there any way I can terminate my rent earlier than September 2015, as the whole situation seems very unfair? Many thanks in advance, Zoe.
Buachaill :

1. The office lease you signed is effectively continuing twelve month rental periods with only the option to break the lease arising on 3rd September each year. So I regret to say that youare tied in for another 12 months from this September as you did not give the necessary 3 month notice period on 3rd June of this year. Secondly, it is correct to say that you can assign the benefit of the lease to some third party. This is another way to bring your obligations under the lease to an end as then someone else will be stepping into your shoes to fulfill your obligations under the lease. So you can advertise the lease with an estate agent and get someone else to come in and finish off your obligations for the remainder of the 12 month terms which is outstanding. Otherwise you will remain liable for the rent due until 3rd September next year.

Buachaill :

2. Be aware that there is no requirement that you be told that the lease is continuing for another twelve months. You are taken to have read the lease when you signed it. So it does not matter that you received no email telling you the lease would be continuing for another 12 months. When you signed this lease, you failed to realise how heavily skewed in favour of the landlord the actual terms are. Finally, I regret to say that there is no way in which you can bring your obligations under the lease to an end before September 2015 apart from assigning the lease.

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