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Lord Emsworth

Can I Break My Contract Early Without Break Clause?

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Hi

I rented a house for myself and my family in October last year on a 12 month contract. We were returning to the area and wanted to rent while we looked for some where to buy. My wife was pregnant and due to give birth in April. I wasn't sure how long it would take to find somewhere to buy and I requested that the contract did not have a break clause. This was because a 6 month break clause would take us to April and I didn't want the possibility of any notice from the landlord around this time.

As it turned out, we completed on a house purchase in April. I've contacted the landlord and explained our position, he has no intention of allowing us to leave the contract early or even pay off half the remaining contract. He now wants access to the property so that he can decorate it with a view of putting it on the market.

Is there anything I can do to break the contract - which is a standard assured short term tenancy agreement?

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Hi

I rented a house for myself and my family in October last year on a 12 month contract. We were returning to the area and wanted to rent while we looked for some where to buy. My wife was pregnant and due to give birth in April. I wasn't sure how long it would take to find somewhere to buy and I requested that the contract did not have a break clause. This was because a 6 month break clause would take us to April and I didn't want the possibility of any notice from the landlord around this time.

As it turned out, we completed on a house purchase in April. I've contacted the landlord and explained our position, he has no intention of allowing us to leave the contract early or even pay off half the remaining contract. He now wants access to the property so that he can decorate it with a view of putting it on the market.

Is there anything I can do to break the contract - which is a standard assured short term tenancy agreement?

As far as I know, neither you or your landlord can give notice during the agreed fixed period of the tenancy unless you are are not paying rent when he can still force you out for not paying rent. However, it is possible for both a landlord and tenant to agree to end a contract early. If he is not willing to allow this, then you are fully within your rights to keep paying rent, until the end of the term but move out of the property. He cannot force you to live in the property. Also, he is not allowed to put it on the market until the end of the fixed term I believe (but could be wrong on that), unless you agree. You also do not need to allow your landlord in, except for essential repairs, which I would think decorating is not.

He cannot have it both ways. If he wants to put it on the market now, and decorate it, then he would have to agree with you to end the tenancy early. If he wants you to pay in full until the end of the term, then it is you home until that time, unless you agree some compromise with him.

Edited by BalancedBear

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As far as I know, neither you or your landlord can give notice during the agreed fixed period of the tenancy unless you are are not paying rent when he can still force you out for not paying rent. However, it is possible for both a landlord and tenant to agree to end a contract early. If he is not willing to allow this, then you are fully within your rights to keep paying rent, until the end of the term but move out of the property. He cannot force you to live in the property. Also, he is not allowed to put it on the market until the end of the fixed term I believe (but could be wrong on that), unless you agree. You also do not need to allow your landlord in, except for essential repairs, which I would think decorating is not.

He cannot have it both ways. If he wants to put it on the market now, and decorate it, then he would have to agree with you to end the tenancy early. If he wants you to pay in full until the end of the term, then it is you home until that time, unless you agree some compromise with him.

This reply is not correct on some points. You can agree between LL and T to end any agreement early. The LL wants access to decorate - unless this particular access is allowed within your agreement THEN YOU NEED NOT ALLOW IT. You could agree it on the basis that it means the LL will now accept notice. If not, then you must pay to the end of the tenancy. You would normally find an AST has provision to allow access for a LL to show a prospective purchaser or potential new T around and if so you cannot refuce this type of access. A LL is certainly entitled to market the property before the end of a fixed term either for sale or rent. Otherwise they could be left without a T or a sale.

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As it turned out, we completed on a house purchase in April. I've contacted the landlord and explained our position, he has no intention of allowing us to leave the contract early or even pay off half the remaining contract. He now wants access to the property so that he can decorate it with a view of putting it on the market.

You cant break it early if the landlord says no, BUT you can then say "no access until we move", he cant have it both ways, either sit down and work out an early termination date so you no longer pay rent and he can decorate, or pay the rent monthly until the end of the contract but make it clear you will not tolerate access for viewings, decoration or any other crap he wants to put your way.

LL cant have cake and eat it. Also, dont forget while you are paying rent the place is yours to do with as you like, so you could use it as a dumping ground for your crap while you move, so long as you tidy up when you leave and dont trash the place you are well within your rights.

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This reply is not correct on some points. You can agree between LL and T to end any agreement early. The LL wants access to decorate - unless this particular access is allowed within your agreement THEN YOU NEED NOT ALLOW IT. You could agree it on the basis that it means the LL will now accept notice. If not, then you must pay to the end of the tenancy. You would normally find an AST has provision to allow access for a LL to show a prospective purchaser or potential new T around and if so you cannot refuce this type of access. A LL is certainly entitled to market the property before the end of a fixed term either for sale or rent. Otherwise they could be left without a T or a sale.

My original post stated that a tenant and landlord can mutually agree to end an agreement early! I also stated that tenants are within their rights not to let landlords in except for essential maintenance.

ASTs may have clauses for access, but they are not legally enforcable, as they cannot overide statute. Also, whilst most reasonable tenants would be happy to have a landlord market a property before the end of a fixed term of a tenancy, and normally agree to it in the tenancy agreement. I'm pretty sure it too is not enforcable, as I beleive it is not strictly allowed by statute. Someone else may have the clear answer to that.

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My original post stated that a tenant and landlord can mutually agree to end an agreement early! I also stated that tenants are within their rights not to let landlords in except for essential maintenance.

ASTs may have clauses for access, but they are not legally enforcable, as they cannot overide statute. Also, whilst most reasonable tenants would be happy to have a landlord market a property before the end of a fixed term of a tenancy, and normally agree to it in the tenancy agreement. I'm pretty sure it too is not enforcable, as I beleive it is not strictly allowed by statute. Someone else may have the clear answer to that.

A landlord can market a property at any time, regardless of the tenant's views. It's only "access" that the tenant has any control over.

If the tenant is still in situ at date of completion, the purchaser of the property has to respect the terms of the lease and continue with the tenancy/give legal notice as appropriate.

Edited by tim123

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I've contacted the landlord and explained our position, he has no intention of allowing us to leave the contract early or even pay off half the remaining contract

As an extra lever for you to negotiate with, you could point out to the LL that if you choose to move out (albeit still pay the rent) you would notify him in writing of this point and that would then cause him to have to notify his Buildings Insurance of a property that is vacant for an extended period. Not much of a negotiating point, I know, but maybe something that you can utilise.

If the tenant is still in situ at date of completion ...

Any buyer's solicitor would not entertain the idea of even exchanging contracts with a tenant still in place. Unless of course you're talking about a new LL taking over the place, which is what tim123 may have had in mind.

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  • 140 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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