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It is very important when you decide to exercise a break notice that the terms of the lease are fully complied with. The lease may often require the notice to be served subject to precise break dates or subject other requirements.  Saying that in a recent case Siemens Hearing instruments Ltd v Friends Life Ltd (2013) EWHC (ChD) the High Court held that a notice purporting to exercise a lease break was effective even though the notice did not follow the requirements of the lease.

In this case the lease stated that the break notice “must be expressed to be given under section 24 (2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The tenant served the notice but did not state in the notice that it was given under section 24 (2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The landlord claimed that the break notice had not been served correctly. The High Court decided that the break notice was valid even though it failed to comply with one of the requirements of the lease.

It was suggested that when a break notice is served there are three possible outcomes:-
 
1. the requirement of the break notice is mandatory and failing to comply with such will be fatal;
 

2. that the requirements is “directory’ . Failure to meet this requirements may have adverse consequences but does not invalidate the notice?

3. that the non compliance has to be assessed whether there has been adequate compliance and does the non -compliance make a difference to the other party?

The recent case may provide some comfort to anyone serving a notice as in this case the courts stated that the notice was valid even though it did not comply with every requirement of the break clause.  Even with this anyone serving a notice needs to read the lease terms carefully as it would have been much better in this case for the notice to have been served in strict compliance with the terms of the break clause so that the expensive legal proceedings could have been avoided.
 

In summary please ensure that whenever you are serving a break notice that the terms of the break clause are strictly complied with.

If you do have any questions on break clauses I would be happy to assist with your enquiries please feel free to email me on climb@fidler.co.uk or call on my direct dial 01623 448302.

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