Notice period for an AST renewal contract

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    Notice period for an AST renewal contract

    Hi

    We are having an issue with our lettings agents who told us a few months ago we could give notice in July (this would be the 4th month, therefore we would be vacating at the end of the 6th month). So we have based the buying of our house around this date and we are about to exchange on our flat and we called to find out about notice and they told us we can't until September now. As you can imagine, we're pretty annoyed by this.

    We have been in the property for 16 months now. I have an email from the agent stating that the Landlord has requested a 6 month break clause, but an 8 month break clause was written into our renewal contract instead, which we missed at signing. Careless I know!

    I was always under the impression that when you renewed, you could give 1/2 months (as agreed) notice at any time as you would have served your minimum 6 months from the initial 12 month contract.

    Where do we actually stand? Please help! We're due to exchange next week and we need to give a date and we're really in a pickle thanks to this agent! We have asked the agent to speak to the Landlord and get agreement.

    #2
    What was the date, dd/mm/yy, of your last tenancy agreement? What was the term length, 6/12 month?

    What is the exact wording of your break clause?

    Comment


      #3
      26th March 2011 12 months with a break as below:

      Mutual Break Clause Any time after six months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy (or after a similar period following a fixed term extension to the original tenancy) either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other (such notice to expire on the last day of a rental period of the tenancy). At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement.

      I also have an email from the letting agent stating:

      'The landlord will accept your offer of £983.00 pcm from 26th March 2011 but would still like a 6 month break clause although she has no plans to move back to UK or sell the property.'

      Comment


        #4
        26th March 2011 12 months with a break as below:

        Mutual Break Clause Any time after six months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy (or after a similar period following a fixed term extension to the original tenancy) either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other (such notice to expire on the last day of a rental period of the tenancy). At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement.

        I also have an email from the letting agent stating:

        'The landlord will accept your offer of £983.00 pcm from 26th March 2011 but would still like a 6 month break clause although she has no plans to move back to UK or sell the property.'

        Comment


          #5
          Then it would appear that the earliest date you could give notice would be 16th September. Technically, giving notice on that date to leave on 15th November does not give 2 months notice (well, unless you serve at 00:00) but I suspect the agent would accept the notice before 16/9 to enable you to leave on 15/11.

          The description of the break clause does not affect it's content and context - the term '6 month break clause' has no specific legal meaning.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by swanny View Post
            We are having an issue with our lettings agents who told us a few months ago we could give notice in July (this would be the 4th month, therefore we would be vacating at the end of the 6th month). So we have based the buying of our house around this date and we are about to exchange on our flat and we called to find out about notice and they told us we can't until September now. As you can imagine, we're pretty annoyed by this.
            I'm no champion of agents, but I'm afraid that's your fault for not reading the contract or seeking legal advice before signing it. The agent is not your paid legal advisor.

            Originally posted by swanny View Post
            26th March 2011 12 months with a break as below:

            Mutual Break Clause Any time after six months of the initial fixed term of this tenancy (or after a similar period following a fixed term extension to the original tenancy) either party may invoke this break clause by providing a minimum of two months written notice to the other (such notice to expire on the last day of a rental period of the tenancy). At the end of such notice the tenancy shall end and all obligations and responsibilities shall cease; subject nevertheless to any claim by either party against the other in respect of any breach of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement.
            Then you may serve notice any time after 25th September 2011 and, assuming the rental periods run 26th - 25th of the month, the notice must expire on the 25th of the month. As snorkerz points out, if you served it on 26th September, then it makes it impossible to give two clear months expiring on the 25th November, but it would be somewhat unreasonable if the LL refused to accept such notice.

            Comment


              #7
              Have you asked the agent to explain the situation to the LL. No matter what the agreement actually says, you can mutually agree to end the tenancy whenever you like. The LL may be very willing to fit in with your plans - particularly as a six month break clause is what they originally intended, and as you've been there for a while. The agent may try to put a spanner in the works, but don't let them! Contact the LL direct to discuss it if you have their contact details.
              IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

              Comment


                #8
                When a "six month break clause" is negotiated what is meant is that the maximum period of commitment is six months. What often happens, whether by accident or design, is that the clause is phrased so that notice exercising the right to break cannot be served until six months has elapsed. I would argue that if a "six month break clause" was negotiated that you are entitled to ask for the agreement to be rectified to reflect what was agreed.

                On the whole break clauses have no place in short term tenancy agreements and should be avoided by landlord and tenant alike if for no other reason than that they are rarely properly drafted.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                  On the whole break clauses have no place in short term tenancy agreements and should be avoided by landlord and tenant alike if for no other reason than that they are rarely properly drafted.
                  While that's probably true, the vast majority of break clauses (badly worded or not) are still enacted without a major hitch as people will rarely resort to court. They come to some sort of arrangement and the Fixed Term is ended early.
                  IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

                  Comment

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