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Break Clauses not honoured because new tenants can’t be found - claim

The consumer group Which? claims some agents and landlords are not honouring break clauses and therefore not allowing tenants to move out during the Coronavirus crisis.

The group claims this is because some agents and landlords fear they will not be able to find new tenants during the lockdown period.

Which? says “some renters” - without naming them or indicating how many - have been in touch with the group.


Which? claims: “Those affected are reporting that some private landlords aren’t honouring break clauses that would normally allow tenants to leave their home before the end of a tenancy agreement. And some landlords are pressuring tenants to continue renting homes, even though their tenancy agreement has ended and they have no duty to stay.”

It cites one tenant, referred to only as Chelsea, who lives in a shared house in East London: she lost her income during the lockdown and wanted to move back to her mother. 

Which? claims Chelsea’s letting agent refused her request, saying it’s down to the landlord’s discretion. 

The group says the landlord wouldn’t give permission for her to leave under the current circumstances, saying it would be difficult to find a new tenant at this time, and suggested Chelsea find a different job or ask her family to help her pay her rent.

In an article on the group’s website, Which? says that even a private tenancy agreement break clause is stated as being down to the landlord’s discretion “you may be able to argue that this is an unfair term under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, due to the imbalance of your rights against the landlord’s.” 

You can see the lengthy article here.

Poll: Should Break Clauses always be solely 'at the landlord's discretion'?


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    It works both ways. If tenants rightfully refuse to move out if notice is given or when tenancy comes to an end due to what is happening, it has to be reciprocated. Everything seems to be leaning in favour of tenants at the moment...

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Break clauses are currently a mutually agreeable course of action, - what on earth is this Non- story by Which ? don't they have anything relevant to write about during the corona virus ?
    Perhaps they might like to write from the Perspective of landlords ? ( No - ? thought not )

  • Matthew Payne

    Not sure how an agent or landlord can refuse or prevent a valid notice being served and actioned? What would they do, physically prevent them from moving out on the last day and magically suck the rent out of their account the following month after the standing order had been cancelled? Must be some soft tenants out there if they are claiming they allowed themselves to be talked out of moving, or persuaded they are not allowed, they seem to be experts on most other things.

  • jeremy clarke

    So, is there a break clause or not? Someone wants to go home and live with their mum doesn't equate to a break clause. We often have tenants who want to break a tenancy because of their circumstances and we would try and negotiate with the landlord, at the moment we wouldn't advise landlords to accept a request but they would have to permit if a break clause was in the agreement.


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