More than one period in break clause?

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    More than one period in break clause?

    Hi all,

    I wanted to ask if it's legal to have a break clause (for both landlord and tenant) that includes more than one period. I want a clause that says they can break after 6th month but not December (for example). Is this okay?

    Many thanks.

    #2
    That would depend on the EXACT wording of all the break clauses (and rest of tenancy..). And how any judge interprets each and all those words. (I could write clauses as you describe that would v v likely fail..)

    e.g. do you mean serve the notice after the 6th month or the notice to expire after the 6th month, ditto not December??

    Best option, simply grant a 6-month initial fixed term then periodic rolling. More control for landlord, more incentive for tenant to comply with contract.

    IMHO people try to make things way way too complex.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #3
      The answer to your question is "yes" but you need some careful.

      Apart from the fact that there is a danger of getting the drafting wrong or serving an invalid notice, as suggested in post 2, a fixed term with both landlord and tenant having a right to break does not make a lot of sense really.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you for the reply. This is the exact wording on my old contract:

        "The Tenant can terminate the Tenancy between 5 August 2019 and 31 November 2019 by giving 1 month written notice prior to the termination date; and between 1 January 2020 to 3 August 2020 by giving 2 months written notice prior to the termination date. The Tenant may not have the termination date of the Tenancy between 1 December 2019 to 31 December 2019 but may still give written notice of 2 months for a termination date after 31 December 2019 during this period."

        Sorry if this seems verbose, at the time I did try to agree the wording with the tenant, to make things clear and to cover different eventualities. In effect, I didn't want the tenant to be moving out during December and the holiday periods as I was not in the country and it would have been difficult to find someone else as replacement.

        It was only today that I wondered about the legality of it. I personally wish tenants to stay on but do not mind if they do decide to leave either if they are not happy with the place. It was just that I wasn't in the country in December so I gave them periods either side of it if they wished to vacate.

        Comment


          #5
          By the way, the date ranges above are all after the 6th month of the contract start date.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by freddycd15 View Post
            Thank you for the reply. This is the exact wording on my old contract: etc.
            If you want anything other than a straightforward right to break the wording is necessarily going to be verbose. Just to repeat, when it comes to legal drafting the rule of thumb is not to complicate things unnecessarily. The reason for the rule is that once you start to introduce complications you run the risk of going astray with your drafting. Unless there is a very good reason no sort of complication should be introduced into any aspect of arms length short term residential tenancies. Break clause are tricky to get right in any event.

            As to your break clause:

            1.It is possible to interpret the first sentence up to the semi-colon taken on its own as meaning that notice can be served between 5 August 2019 and 31 (!) November 2019 to expire after the end of November. Whilst the last sentence says that is not possible, you cannot rule out a judge saying that the last sentence is separated by too much text from the first sentence up to the semi-colon.

            2. "Prior to the termination date" is superfluous. Whilst it does no harm, unnecessary words can get in the way. Another rule of drafting is to use as few words as possible but not so as to risk obscurity - clarity has to be the prime objective.

            3. It requires an exact period of notice - better to say: Not less than x month's notice.

            4. There are different periods of notice according to when it is to expire and that may lead to confusion.

            5. It does not say to whom notice is to be given. I think it has to be implicit, but there may be an argument if the landlord employs an agent.

            6. Whilst probably implicit, the clause does not actually say that the notice brings the tenancy to an end.

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