Tenants serving a break notice in a lease

Any tenant who wishes to exercise a break of the lease needs to be very careful, as any mistakes can be costly. Failing to comply exactly with the lease conditions can result in the tenant remaining liable for rent and other costs until the end of the lease term. Even if there are no lease conditions, tenants are advised to follow the points below.

Checks before serving the break notice:

1. Check the break clause in the Lease. This will confirm the break date minimum period of notice that will need to be given to Landlord.

2. Check if there is any supplemental Lease or deed of variation which varies the break provisions in Lease.

3. Check who the current Landlord is by obtaining official copies of freehold title to the Lease.

4. Serve a Section 40(3) Notice (Landlord and Tenant Act 1954) in order to identify the Landlord. Check details in the response against the details of the Landlord in the most recent rent demand.

5. Check the lease requirements for the method of serving the break notice, such as by post, recorded delivery, fax or personal delivery.

6. Make sure that vacant possession can be given on the break date.

7. Make sure that the all rents, service charges and any other amounts due are paid up to date.

8. Make sure all the other Tenant covenants have been complied with.

9. Make sure that any reinstatement conditions can be complied with so that the property is returned in good repair.

Serving the break notice:

1. Check the Leasehold title by obtaining the latest copy of the official copies to make sure that the correct Tenant is serving the break notice.

2. Make sure that the break notice is correctly signed by the Tenant or the Tenant’s solicitor as the agent for the Tenant.

3. Make sure that the correct minimum period of notice is provided.

4. Make sure that you obtain a certificate of posting if posted, or if it is being delivered by hand, then obtain a receipt from the person who it is handed to.

On and after the break date:

1. Make sure that all rubbish and tenant’s fixtures and fittings have been removed from the premises.

2. Make sure that the time for the handover of keys is arranged with the Landlord or its managing agent in advance.

3. Make sure that the meters are read on the break date at the handover of keys.

4. Make sure that the tenant does not enter the property after the break date.

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