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A.Renter

use AST Break Clause over flatmate’s objections - possible?

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Hello,

I’m on a year-long AST in a flat share with 1 other person. I’m currently unemployed and have been looking at jobs outside my current city. As such I might find myself position of needing to move out, yet being stuck in an AST which doesn’t end until July.

The AST does have a break clause: For reference, the specific wording of our break clause is “The Landlord and Tenant agree that they have the right to terminate the Tenancy after the first 7 month period…[with] the Tenant giving 1 month’s notice in writing in line with the rental payment date. When the notice period expires the Agreement shall cease.” The ‘Tenant’ in the AST is defined as both of us forming forming ‘one person’.

My question is - what options do I have to enact the break clause unilaterally? My flatmate’s a decent guy, and we will likely be able to come to some sort of agreement. However, what if he decides to play hard ball and refuses to leave until the AST ends? The above would suggest that the break clause has to be signed by both of us to be valid and that I cannot do this unilaterally.

For reference I plan to move out in July anyway, so this situation would merely bring forward the inevitable. My worry of course is that I get a great opportunity elsewhere, but my flatmate refuses to agree to use the break clause, thus meaning I have to choose between turning the job down, or taking it and paying the rent on this place until July. Hopefully I’m worrying over nothing, but I want to know how I’d stand in a worst case scenario.

Any advice appreciated,
A. Renter

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Discuss it with your housemate NOW. There is nothing to stop you giving more than 1 months notice.

The break clause is clear that you can serve 1 month notice at or after 6 months that takes effect from 7 months at the earliest and on a rent payment date.

You serving notice will end the AST for both of you. It will be best if your housemate accepts that and moves on, saving the landlord lots of hassle.

 

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Thanks for your reply. 

 

I've seen conflicting things on this. Surely as 'The Tenant' is defined the in the AST as being comprised of both parties, then both of us must sign the break clause for it to be valid? 1/2 the tenant, so to speak, cannot just do things over the head of the other 1/2..?
 

If so, this of course gives my flatmate the advantage, as he could just refuse to sign and I'd still be legally liable to pay my half of the rent (and he'd then also get the whole house to himself for a few months).

 

ps. atm this is just theoretical - there's no point potentially panicking my housemate when I don't even know if I'll be leaving town for certain yet.

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Well, let's be clear, when you started the tenancy both of you will have signed an AST or an attachment that would have contained the break clause. Presumably both of you are named on the AST as the Tenant.

If either of you serve notice, then that will end the tenancy.......you don't both need to sign a document to serve notice, either is sufficient.

I don't really care if you choose to accept this answer or not but i've provided the same answer to your question twice now. You can always go see a solicitor if you want professional legal advice.

Good luck.

 

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