A fixed term tenancy may include a break clause which enables either party to terminate the tenancy before the fixed term ends. For example you may have a 10 year lease which may include a break clause allowing either party to terminate after 5 years, or there may be more than one break clause during that period of time.
The break clause may also contain terms and conditions that have to be complied with before it is held to be valid. For example it may state that you have to serve the break clause on a certain person and by a certain way of service. If you do not follow the exact terms then the break clause will not be effective.
You must also make sure that all the terms of the tenancy have been complied with. This means that you must comply with your responsibilities to repair the premises so you must make sure that when the break clause is exercised your repair obligations have been fully met.
You must also make sure that all rent and other monies payable are paid in full. This includes not only rent and service charges but also interest that may have become payable over the term of the lease, even though it has never been demanded. For example the tenancy will normally say that rent is payable by a certain date and if not, interest may become payable. In many situations the Landlord does not bother to claim the interest, however if interest is due under the terms of the lease you must make sure that interest is paid, otherwise you will not be able to exercise the break clause.
It is very important that you check the exact terms of the break clause and make sure that all the terms of the lease and payments due under its terms, whether claimed or not, are paid.
If you are in dispute with your Landlord over the amount of rent or service charge payable you should still make sure that the whole amount claimed is paid otherwise the break clause cannot be exercised. Once it has been exercised and accepted you can still continue to dispute the amount owed, even if not paid.
For specialist advice on Break Clauses or any other property related dispute, contact MW's Specialist Solicitor Gary Leverett or call direct on 0203 551 8024.