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ChrisH

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Break Clauses

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Hi all

Im hoping someone can point me in the right direction to do further reading or ask professional advice.

Were in a 12 month AST but need to leave five months early, in Feb 2016 instead of July. The contract gives the landlord a break clause but not me as the tenant. I approached the landlord / property manager yesterday to start talking about if/how we might come to an arrangement about leaving the property early, but she was not willing to engage at all.

From reading the contract it seems like the landlord is correct and we are tied in until July. But I read (eg. http://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/tenancy-agreement-break-clauses/)that giving one party a break clause but not the other is not a fair or enforceable contract term. I suppose one question would be, if I pursued this legally, would we end up with symmetrical break clauses or no break clauses?

I also understand that once a new tenant is installed in the property, we are no longer liable for rent. So if we found a new tenant, would the landlord have any obligation to accept them?

Any advice appreciated! Ill contact a solicitor soon but wanted to know which direction to investigate first.

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I had a contract presented to me that had the same type of break clause. The LA had written one but not the tenant. I took advice from a lawyer (we have legal expenses cover under our household insurance) and was advised that, in their opinion, it was not enforceable as there was no provision for the tenant also have a break clause. I had one added to the contract before signing it.

I'm not sure what would happen if you pursued this now.

Look luck with the solicitor.

Edited by Flopsy

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The asymmetrical break clause is certainly an unfair term, which you never needed to agree to. You still have some options though.

You could walk out of the property and leave your LL to pursue you for losses. This will take time and has risks attached to it. You are right that if he gets a new tenant he can't pursue you if he's had no losses. You can still sublet.

This leaves room for some negotiation. Communicate directly with your landlord, not the Agent. Tell him you want to leave early, and that the break clause should have applied to both parties. Tell him you have taken legal adviceand are confident you can walk away from the tenancy in this circumstance. Offer to sublet, or perhaps a months rent as a good will gesture. If he's smart he'll take the money.

Negotiating the end of a tenancy can be as tricky as negotiating the start of the tenancy.

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Thanks both.

I would like to come to an amicable solution, but if the landlord or property managers won't budge then I may look to either:

1. Find a new tenant and link them up with the landlord, then stop paying rent and post the keys back - abadoning the tenancy

2. Sublet / AirBnB the flat until the end of the tenancy

Both options are against the clauses in my tenancy agreement!

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