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View Full Version : Using 6-month break clause; L refusing to do works



salsal
31-03-2010, 21:07 PM
We are having problems with our landlord and really don't want to live here anymore.

Our tenancy has a break clause that reads:
this agreement may be terminated by either party giving to the other notice (at least 2 months from the landlord, at least one month from the tenant) in writing to expire any time after 6 months from the commencement date of this agreement as specified in the clause 'term' under the heading 'particulars' of this agreement.

but then there is also a section that says
Early Termination: In the event of this agreemnt being terminated before the end of the stated period by the tenant in any way, the Tenant agress to pay the full cost of re-letting the property and any loss of rent incurred by the landlord as a result of the tenant's action.

The Term - reads
The tenancy will be for a term from and including the 07/08/2009 ('The commencement date') to and including 06/08/2010 ('the expiration') date.

I would appreciate any insights into this as we currently have to put up with the landlady calling our mobile from the top of the drive to say she is coming to see us and sometimes just turning up at the door.

PaulF
31-03-2010, 21:12 PM
A break clause does not constitute early termination as it's a legal right to end the tenancy without penalty. I would say that early termination would be if the tenant tried to end it prematurely without exercising the break clause option.

Your landlady cannot just visit you unannounced if you don't want her to. She is obliged to give a minimum of 24 hours written Notice, but you can still refuse her entry.

dominic
31-03-2010, 21:55 PM
is early termination the same as bringing forward the date of expiry?

The word 'termination' is used in the break clause, but does the exercise of the break clause mean that termination is 'early'?

Interestingly, the damages for early termination is in respect of the agreement, not the tenancy (or term).

I think the two clauses are compatible therefore, exercise of the break clause does not bring the agreement to an end prematurely, but instead reduces the term.

However, chances are the LL will try to sting you. But according to the contra proferentem rule it will be for the LL to prove that it means what she thinks it means, not the other way round.

Is the break clause called a break clause?

salsal
31-03-2010, 22:23 PM
Thanks for the replies so far

Yes Dominic this section definitely states Tenancy Break Clause.

We originally had a six month contract that was raised by Greys Lettings. At the end of that we received the 12 month one but it actually looks like they have used the old one and just changed the section entitled The Term. section 60 Tenancy Break Clause is the same on both versions. The second one is not witnessed by a member of the Greys staff and as the landlord and her brother self-manage I don't think they went to them for the new one.

Will the LL be able to withhold the deposit until any dispute on this is settled do you think?

They are planning on selling the bungalow and the land for development once an access dispute has been resolved and so are unwilling to do any repairs. We have been waiting 8 months for a new garage roof and the plumber came out 5 times for blocked water pipes in the bathroom. We were given £150 rebate on that after being without a bath or shower for 5 days. After the 5th episode we demanded that they fit an electric shower. We have had enough now of having no privacy and the final straw was her and her son turning up on Saturday morning before we were dressed to fix a drainpipe which she had previously tried to say was our fault due to falling leaves not being cleared. It took us photographing the downpipe and the hole before she accepted liability and her punishment was to turn up unannounced for the 3rd time that week.

Lawcruncher
31-03-2010, 22:39 PM
I think the "Early Termination" clause has to be taken as not applying if the right to break is exercised. If it applied the right to break would hardly be a right to break at all. Logically, if the right is exercised then the tenancy comes to an end and no more rent is due; there is therefore no rent that can lost.

Snorkerz
31-03-2010, 23:00 PM
Will the LL be able to withhold the deposit until any dispute on this is settled do you think?Unfortunately, yes they will. The dispute can either be settled in court or via the deposit protection schemes arbitration service.

salsal
01-04-2010, 18:16 PM
None of this matters anymore...

Last week I called Environmental Health to ask how we can get rid of the mold on the outside wall after the LL said it was our fault. We haven't yet had the report but the LL was advised by the EHO but I had already told her. She was here when I told the EHO that I only wanted that advice but he said he had to check the whole property but that she couldn't kick us out because of it

Today at 6.40 the two LL's turned up on the doorstep and served us with a section 21. So far we haven't been able to find a house to rent and now we have 2 months and no longer any leeway. I am a LL for our house 200 miles away and I treat my tenants perfectly. LLs like our's give us all a bad name - how can my family and I enjoy Easter now with this hanging over us??

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 18:21 PM
really don't want to live here anymore.


Today at 6.40 the two LL's turned up on the doorstep and served us with a section 21.

Silver lining?

As a landlord yourself, you will appreciate that a s21 notice does not compel you to leave on it's expiry date and that landlord still has repairing obligations while you have a tenancy - even if that goes beyond the expiry date of the s21.

You have probably verified the s21 as valid - but if you are not sure, post the details on here & we'll check.

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 18:24 PM
None of this matters anymore...

Last week I called Environmental Health to ask how we can get rid of the mold on the outside wall after the LL said it was our fault. We haven't yet had the report but the LL was advised by the EHO but I had already told her. She was here when I told the EHO that I only wanted that advice but he said he had to check the whole property but that she couldn't kick us out because of it

Today at 6.40 the two LL's turned up on the doorstep and served us with a section 21. So far we haven't been able to find a house to rent and now we have 2 months and no longer any leeway. I am a LL for our house 200 miles away and I treat my tenants perfectly. LLs like our's give us all a bad name - how can my family and I enjoy Easter now with this hanging over us??

I know it is stressful, but you will find somewhere. If push comes to shove and you are unable to move out when the s21 notice expires then you will have a few weeks' leeway as your LLs will have to apply for a court order for possession and that will take time.

Look on the bright side. At least you can choose somewhere which isn't mouldy. :)

If you want to stay in the same area, it might be worth being proactive about advertising yourself - newsagents, local paper, noticeboards at work, etc. Also, it is worth contacting estate agents and asking if they have any vendors on their books who would consider renting instead if the property is not selling as quickly as they hoped. My friend did this and got a lovely house for two years.

Good luck.

salsal
01-04-2010, 18:31 PM
They have printed a form of the internet V0507 from the residential landlords association website and it all looks okay..

Just reeling from how they can put us through so much rubbish then ruin Easter like this. What happened to recorded delivery that wouldn't arrive until Tesday. The rental date is 6th so they could have done that and still had an expiry date of 6th June.

It would be asilver lining if it wasn't for the fact that there is absolutely nothing round here. I have viewed 2 houses today and for £1200 rent they were absolutely disgusting, still having tenants in with so much work to be done out of the deposit that they were both unfit to be inhabited and not worth the rent. Also on both visits the agent admitted that there was no guarantee that the repairs would be done when we moved in. They were the only two 4 bed houses within 10 miles of our search area.

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 18:41 PM
What happened to recorded delivery that wouldn't arrive until Tesday. The rental date is 6th so they could have done that and still had an expiry date of 6th June.RD is not recommended because the tenant can refuse receipt - thus preventing service.

Okay,

what were the exact dates of the original AST?
How long was it for
Did you pay a deposit
Was it protected?
Is the notice served under s21(1)(b) or s21(4)(a)
I haven't got access to the RLAs s21, so can you give us the exact wording relating to the expiry date.

salsal
01-04-2010, 19:15 PM
Just goes to show Snorkerz as I would have sent it recordered delivery - what do I know? Told you I have a good relationship with my tenants

what were the exact dates of the original AST?
07/08/2009 - 06/08/2010


* How long was it for
12 months with break clause after 6 months

* Did you pay a deposit
yes £1350

* Was it protected?
yes with DPS

* Is the notice served under s21(1)(b) or s21(4)(a)
s21(1)(b)

* I haven't got access to the RLAs s21, so can you give us the exact wording relating to the expiry date.
After the expiry of this notice - this notice expires AFTER then handwritten (6 June 2010

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 19:24 PM
Sadly, sounds like LL has done his homework.

Did you get the 'prescribed information' required by DPS?

salsal
01-04-2010, 19:52 PM
we have the repayment ID letter. I don't doubt his homework - just the integrity

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 20:01 PM
we have the repayment ID letter. I don't doubt his homework - just the integrityThat's not the same - you should have had this (https://www.depositprotection.com/WebContent.ashx?docid=2be01c4a-1d75-45b7-8819-6cfe30d060dd) or something similar.

salsal
01-04-2010, 20:33 PM
No, the only thing we have is a letter each from the DPS. I must admit though that this is our second rental and we didn't have one before either.

That having been said - I've never done one for our tenant and all the start up was dealt with my the agency.

Are we in bother now?

mind the gap
01-04-2010, 20:40 PM
No, the only thing we have is a letter each from the DPS. I must admit though that this is our second rental and we didn't have one before either.

That having been said - I've never done one for our tenant and all the start up was dealt with my the agency.

Are we in bother now?
No. In theory, your Ll should have issued you (and you, your tenants) with this 'prescribed information', but I would not hold out in the hope it will prevent the s21 taking effect. (Fill it in and send it to your tenants, though).

I think you need to put your energies into certainties now, not vague possibilities. If you tried to claim against your LL for this, all he would have to do is fill in the details on this form and you would be no further on. It might prevent the s21 taking effect but I doubt it. You are just prolonging the agony.

Find a new house. :) Good luck.

Snorkerz
01-04-2010, 22:04 PM
No. In theory, your Ll should have issued you (and you, your tenants) with this 'prescribed information', but I would not hold out in the hope it will prevent the s21 taking effect. (Fill it in and send it to your tenants, though).

I think you need to put your energies into certainties now, not vague possibilities. If you tried to claim against your LL for this, all he would have to do is fill in the details on this form and you would be no further on. It might prevent the s21 taking effect but I doubt it. You are just prolonging the agony.

Find a new house. :) Good luck.The current s21 is invalid - but don't tell anyone just yet - if you wait until your LL starts the court process and then reveal his ommission then he will have to issue a new s21, having issued you with the 'prescribed information' - thus giving you an extra 2 to 3 months to find somewhere if you need it.

Of course, this depends on you not having received it - not just having forgotten you'd had it. If LL comes up with proof of posting or some other proof in court, you'll be scuppered.

The vital bit is in the Housing Act 2004, section 215(1)(b).

As MTG says, make sure YOUR tenants have this info as it is as much a requirement as protecting the deposit in the first place and is subject to the same 3x penalty.

salsal
10-04-2010, 09:21 AM
Morning all

I should change my name to frustrated

I put a thread on not so long ago asking for advice on a landlord who refused to do repairs. Then I continued the saga telling you that they had served us with a section 21(b).

The next step is to suddenly want to start having access to do all those repairs whilst we are in our 2 month notice period. The good news is that we have found somewhere else but we cannot move in until June so we have to sit out the notice period here.

One of the jobs is massive and will involve a week of dust, skips, workmen and no parking. Do we have to let them come and do it or would we be unreasonable to refuse. The last thing we want to be doing is packing dusty stuff and adding the cleaning up after workmen to the cleaning for the final inspection. We're not unreasonable people but I feel they should leave these repairs now until after we have moved out. Especially the big job as it will be much easier for the workmen without all our belongings

thevaliant
10-04-2010, 09:32 AM
My understanding is that you do not have to allow access.

Perhaps be willing to negotiate however, a rent reduction perhaps?

I must admit, if I had problems in the past with LL, I would be disinclined to allow access at all.

matthew_henson
10-04-2010, 09:42 AM
There are hundreds of threads on access on the forum but in essence you can not restrict the LL from completing their repair duties under section 11 of the 1985 LTA but you are also entitled to "quiet enjoyment"

What is the massive job? is it repair work that ensures one of the three things?

1. You have adequate heating and hot water
2. You have access to proper sanitation
3. The house is wind and water tight

If it not one of the above the LL has no right to do work and must either wait for you to leave or provide alternate accomadation.

Personally if the property is habitable then I would refuse access, does the front door has a Yale type barrel lock rather than a mortice lock (with a normal key). If so change the barrel it costs about £12 and is very easy to fit, but keep the old one and put it back on afterwards

Snorkerz
10-04-2010, 09:47 AM
I agree that access for a job like that should be refused. The lawful rights and wrongs are vague (search for "Quiet enjoyment") but there is a general consensus that you could refuse access to landlord or letting agent or prospective tenants - so I am sure you could refuse access to a stranger with a jack-hammer.

In real terms, what could the landlord do about it? He wouldn't be able to withold anything from your deposit and he couldn't force entry. He could possibly take you to court if your refusal cost him any money - but as he has had so long to do these works, I can't see a court considering your refusal unreasonable. Also, it probably wouldn't be worth his time & money even trying for court.

westminster
10-04-2010, 10:36 AM
From your previous thread

We have been waiting 8 months for a new garage roof and the plumber came out 5 times for blocked water pipes in the bathroom. We were given £150 rebate on that after being without a bath or shower for 5 days. After the 5th episode we demanded that they fit an electric shower.


Last week I called Environmental Health to ask how we can get rid of the mold on the outside wall after the LL said it was our fault. We haven't yet had the report but the LL was advised by the EHO but I had already told her. She was here when I told the EHO that I only wanted that advice but he said he had to check the whole property

So, it's quite possible that the EHO is compelling the LL to make the repairs. In answer to your question, is it unreasonable to refuse access - Partly yes, because you're the one who demanded the repairs and complained to EHO; partly no, because you've since been given notice and it's reasonable not to want the disruption when you won't be enjoying the benefits of the repairs.

salsal
11-04-2010, 13:34 PM
Hi

Thanks for all your comments

We have had the report back from the Environmental Officer and he had asked for outside work which was done immediately. The garage roof is the big job and he wasn't interested in that at all as it isn't live in. The garage roof is extremely mouldy and would probably put new tenants off so I can understand why they want it doing but a week of inconvenience is just not worth our while anymore.

Moderator1
11-04-2010, 17:22 PM
Two threads by the same member have been merged here. Please do not start a new thread if you merely wish to continue a previous discussion or report on subsequent developments. It can cause unnecessary confusion (quite apart from losing the connection with facts previously established or legal points previously explained).