L imposed one-sided break clause; breaks OFT's rules

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  • L imposed one-sided break clause; breaks OFT's rules

    I have just renewed a 12 month tenancy and my landlord has given himself a 6 month break clause without extending me the same privilege (I am committed to the full 12 months). I understand from the OFT's guidance on unfair tenancy terms (Group 6 / 3.65) that this is deemed unfair.

    I am also prevented from sub-letting the property at any time, which the OFT also deems unfair.

    I understand that the OFT "can't help with individual cases" so - now i know the facts - who should i turn to get real action on this? If i did nothing now, and landlord did serve me notice to execute his 6 month break clause, would i succeed in challenging this in court?

    May still act now though, as - on a separate note - i would also like to go travelling for a bit and sublet the property. £250 a week is a lot to pay if i'm not here.

    (Same landlord has also failed to provide a gas certificate, so tells you a lot. It's a free lunch for some people)

    Many thanks !

  • #2
    Only the courts can decide on an unfair term but the OFT have guidelines and this does indeed appear to come under that category.

    You could tell your landlord that you consider his break clause invalid unless it extends to your being extended the same privilege. If you were to exercise your right to operate a similar break clause then your landlord would have to take action against you for breach of contract, and would he want to risk having to enforce it through the courts? Unlikely I would say.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


    • #3
      Thanks for that Paul. If my landlord does try to go ahead with this, it's good to know that i can challenge it.


      • #4
        Originally posted by spacecadet View Post
        Thanks for that Paul. If my landlord does try to go ahead with this, it's good to know that i can challenge it.
        Yes- but remember that the supposedly 'unfair' clauses (into which you entered voluntarily) are legally-binding on you:
        a. if you negotiated them individually with L; or
        b. (otherwise) unless a Court strikes them down.
        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).


        • #5
          I wouldn't worry about your landlord's break clause. You cannot be evicted without a court order anyway. Next time, read more carefully before signing. If you are not happy, negotiate.

          Speak to your landlord and inform him that he has a legal obligation to certificate all gas appliances in the property every year in compliance with Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Tell him you want a gas safety check organised as quickly as possible.


          • #6
            Landlord stressed in conversation that they wanted the 12 months out of me - because they're emigrating - but made no mention of their own break clause. So not very transparent of them.

            I did read the contract but signed because i knew i was over a barrel really. ie. sign or we can just find someone else.


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