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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32195
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I have a fixed term tenancy for two concurrent periods of 6m

Customer Question

Hi there
I have a fixed term tenancy for two concurrent periods of 6m each which had the option to give notice at the end of the first 6m period after I requested a break clause at 6m."For the term of 12 months and 0 days, commencing on 07/10/2021
From Start of Tenancy (07/10/2021) 07/04/2022
To 06/04/2022
End of Tenancy (06/10/2022)"I now wish to vacate the flat but they are holding me to the terms of the agreement and saying I have to pay up to 6 October.Further in the lease there is another clause and I wonder if you would consider this to be a break clause. I want to be sure because if I give 1m notice in line with this they will definitely push back."Tenants Break Clause The Landlord agrees that the Tenant has the right to terminate the Tenancy at 6 months by giving the Landlord not less than one months notice in writing to end the Agreement, so that such notice expires at the end of a relevant period, being the day before the rent normally falls due."Very grateful for your thoughts.Kind regards,Pippa Woodroffe
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 11 days ago.

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 15 years’ experience. Please be aware that although I will endeavour to reply to you promptly, I am also in full time private practice and so I may not be available to respond immediately and it may also take me a few minutes to prepare a reply. The site will notify you as soon as I respond. I look forward to working with you to answer your question fully.

Expert:  Joshua replied 11 days ago.

the break clause appears to give you a specific right to determine the tenancy at the six month marker of the term. May I confirm this is the exact wording word for word that appears on the tenancy agreement and in particular, there is no reference to "after 6 months"?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thank you
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
That is the exact wording but my 6m has passed. I spoke to shelter who felt that clause was ‘ambiguous’
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
It's the second part of the second clause that I felt might offer me the opportunity to give notice but I appreciate there is also reference to the 6m period in the first part.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I should add they have said they will release me early but only on payment of close to £1000 broken down as a 'finder fee', lodging of deposit with TDS and inventory check (all of which costs the landlord would be liable for in October anyway)
Expert:  Joshua replied 10 days ago.

thank you. The break clause is not terribly well crafted. On the one hand, it appears to relatively definitively specify the date at which the break clause can be exercised as at six months but then goes on to talk about "a relevant period" which may potentially imply that the break clause relates to any time after the first six months rather than only at the specific point of six months.

however, it is clear that the clause whilst  not being conclusive as regards ***** ***** at which can be exercised, is equally inconclusive in terms of definitively giving you a right to break the tenancy early and as such, in the assumption you and the landlord will not agree on interpretation in respect of the clause, the matter will ultimately have to be determined by court and although you would have the benefit of the contra preferentum rule that determines any ambiguities in favour of the person that did not draft the agreement, it would be risky to move out of the property before the matter has been determined by court because if the court finds against you, you may find yourself liable for additional rent whilst reasonably also having by that time committed yourself to an alternative contractual tenancy agreement elsewhere. as such, given the time it would take for the matter to come to a hearing, I'm not sure this necessarily benefits you in any practical sense as whilst you may be able to successfully obtain an order determining the clause in your favour, by the time the court had decided the matter, it may be that a large part if not in did all of the benefit of potentially breaking the tenancy early may have expired.

Full, it is open to you to seek to replace yourself as tenant under the tenancy agreement either by seeking a new tenant yourself or asking the landlord to do so for you and I wonder whether in the circumstances given the above, this may be the least bad option to consider

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
If the court ruled in my favour would I still be liable for the rent once the date (I had given notice for) had passed? I'm thinking of giving notice,,vacating by the required date and waiting for the courts decision..... the flat is in my son's name, I'm the guarantor. Do you think the request for £1000 is reasonable?
Expert:  Joshua replied 10 days ago.

notwithstanding what we have discussed above in relation to the break clause, you cannot give notice earlier than the expiry of the fixed term of the tenancy

Expert:  Joshua replied 10 days ago.

I hope the above is of some assistance but if you have any further questions, please revert to me.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
34;notwithstanding what we have discussed above in relation to the break clause, you cannot give notice earlier than the expiry of the fixed term of the tenancy" this contradicts what you said above about the badly crafted break clause? As I said, I'm keen to give notice now the first six months has passed but without incurring the (imho outrageous penalty) for doing so. I'd like your view on the best and worst case scenario. Thank you!
Expert:  Joshua replied 10 days ago.

this limit does not contradict what I've said above. I expressed a view that the break clause was not clear in limiting the break option to one precise point in time, but I went on to say that it is far from conclusive that it gives you a right to serve a notice at another point in time, and it would likely require an application to court for an order as regards ***** ***** I might gently invite you to reread that post again

Expert:  Joshua replied 9 days ago.

I trust the above was of assistance and that you do not have any follow up questions for now. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though.

Expert:  Joshua replied 9 days ago.

I hope I was able to answer your question. If you would like to ask me another question in the future, you can add me as a favourite Expert. You'll have the option to do that on your "My Questions" page if you choose to rate our interaction or you can request me by name if you wish. Thank you again for visiting JustAnswer and see you again in the future I hope.