LL refusing my notice (ambiguous break clause)

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    LL refusing my notice (ambiguous break clause)

    Hi everyone, hopefully you'll enjoy this one

    Signed a 12 month fixed term tenancy which contained what I thought was a pretty normal clause to give notice. It reads:

    Section 4 The tenant agrees to:

    1...
    2...

    20 Correct notice of intention to leave the property, of 1 clear calendar month dated from the rent date must be given in writing and confirmedto the landlords agent. Tenants are responsible to give notice to utility suppliers ...blah blah blah)

    Upon finding a new house 7 months into the agreement and giving notice by email my agent promptly replied I can only give notice exactly one month before the end of the tenancy. When asked about this clause he replied that this only applies to monthly contracts, not to fixed ones, which left me puzzled as to why it is present in my contract then. There's nothing in the contract restricting this clause or rendering it invalid. I've asked a few sollicitors who have been kind enough to read through the contract and they advised me this could be interpreted in my favour but I should negotiate a surrender first. I suggested this to the agent and they replied they'll discuss with the LL "in the near future". It's been 3 weeks, and I can't be waiting indefinitely, so could I force the issue and give notice anyway (with registered mail, on one of my rent payment days and in legalese language?)

    All your insights are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and regards,
    Erik

    #2
    The one months notice period will apply after the fixed term of 12 months. It sounds like you were only 7 months into the 12 month contract.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by QuestForFreedom View Post
      The one months notice period will apply after the fixed term of 12 months.
      That's a bit of a stretch to infer this based on what OP quoted.

      That said, not sure about the value of that clause as it does not even say what is the effect of that notice.

      Comment


        #4
        So you've asked a 'few solicitors' and they are non committal on the case - seems you might have the ambiguous break clause which is a common question on this site. Either challenge the LL in the courts, wait it out or try and pay him off.

        If you knew you were house hunting why did you enter and 12 month contract one has to ask?

        This is one of the reasons I only ever do a 6 month AST.



        Freedom at the point of zero............

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for your replies sofar.

          I didn't know I was househunting at the time of signing, plus I simply interpreted the break clause as a normal "giving notice" clause as I've had with all previous tenancies. Of course I've learned my lesson and will avoid this type of ambiquity in the future.

          I entered a 12 month contract to avoid a rent increase which would have happened after 6 months instead.

          Comment


            #6
            Also fyi: at time of signing I was already provided with a section 21 notice, so to me it seemed the notice period only applies *during* the tenancy anyway as I'm sort of forced to sign a new contract with the s21 notice hanging over my head after ending this tenancy (if I wished to stay that is of course).

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
              That's a bit of a stretch to infer this based on what OP quoted.

              That said, not sure about the value of that clause as it does not even say what is the effect of that notice.
              Well ejtaal doesn't say it's a break clause from the fixed term and the agent says that clause only applies to monthly not fixed term which would suggest it is a normal clause for ending the tenancy after the fixed term. No?

              Comment


                #8
                If that really is all there is in clause 20 & if clause 20 is not mentioned anywhere else I suspect a judge just might rule it is valid during the fixed term.

                Appreciate that wasn't what all/agent intended.

                Only way to find out is leave, stop paying rent & see if you get sued for the rest of the rent.

                Agent is also wrong BTW. No notice of any nature needed to leave at end of fixed term, albeit it would be prudent & polite to give notice.

                Cheers!
                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...

                Comment

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