What does my break clause mean?

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    What does my break clause mean?

    Dear all,

    I have a problem with the break clause in my contract. It says:

    "The Landlord and Tenant may both give 2 months notice in writing to end this Tenancy only after the expiry of the first six months of this Tenancy"

    The agents are telling me I cannot leave before the end of the 8 months, with a two months notice at the end of six months, while i m trying to get out at six months with a notice at the end of the fourth month.

    Can somebody help with this?

    In this case I think the natural meaning of the wording is that the notice can be served at any time so long as it does not expire before six months have elapsed. If the agent's meaning is what was intended it would have been more natural to say:

    The Landlord and Tenant may both after the expiry of the first six months of this Tenancy give 2 months notice in writing to end this Tenancy.


      thank you, I think so, too.
      However, they will not let me go and threaten to bring bailiffs into the picture if I leave after the end of six months...
      Is there anything I could do?


        Not sure how they can "bring bailiffs into the picture". Sounds like any empty threat to me.

        Assuming you do not wish to give in, write to the agents telling them that you have taken legal advice and are entirely satisfied that you have the right to bring the tenancy to an end on the expiry of six months and that accordingly your notice is valid. Then just leave, making sure you go before the date your notice expires.


          thank you all,
          any advice is very much appreciated, as it seems that they are not willing to let me go, I am just not sure how else they can come after me...


            Although I know its not generally advisable on this forum to disagree with other members....I'm going to anyway.

            I think the break clause as written is pefectly clear. It allows the tenant to serve a minimum of 2 months notice after 6 months. Therefore tenant can leave earliest at 8 months from beginning of tenancy.


              thanks for your input, i realised that about half the people read one thing and half the opposite! i guess this is the problem with that clause

              many thanks


                Originally posted by subjecttocontract View Post
                I think the break clause as written is pefectly clear.
                "Perfectly clear" is not the phrase that immediately sprang to mind when I read the clause. We see many break clauses phrased this way.

                If we reduce the clause to its essentials we get something like:

                X may give notice to end this Tenancy after a given date

                At first glance what would you take that to mean?

                It may help in this sort of case to look at what the parties agreed before the agreement was signed. If "a right to break at six months" was agreed I think that has to be taken as meaning that the minimum commitment is six months if for no other reason than that the length of notice is not specified. The agreement must then be interpreted to reflect what was agreed.


                  It's not crystal clear, indeed.
                  Personally I'd interpret it in the same way as LC does: It is the ending of the tenancy that can only end after the first 6 months, not the serving of the notice.


                    Chances are that the tenant will leave when it suits them ....at 6 months after serving notice at 4 months.

                    The landlord can either accept it (which is probably what I would do)or take action in the county court.

                    The view of the court would be interesting.


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