Break notices—form
Break notices—form

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Break notices—form
  • The reasonable recipient test
  • Construction of the break notice
  • Compliance with conditions precedent

It is crucial that the requirements in a break clause—as to form and service of the notice and not just the conditions on the option—are complied with to the letter.

The reasonable recipient test

However, in the case of Mannai v Eagle Star, the House of Lords (as was) ruled that a break notice is not invalidated by a minor error if that error would not affect the understanding of the reasonable recipient of that notice. In Mannai the tenant served a break notice that incorrectly recorded the contractual expiry date of the notice as 12 January 1995 rather than the correct date of 13 January 1995. This ruling overturned the previous Court of Appeal decision in Hankey v Clavering that the express requirements of a break clause should be strictly complied with (especially dates) and the court was not at liberty to substitute a correct date for an incorrect one; the intention of the notice and whether the recipient understood the intention of the notice was deemed irrelevant.

In Mannai, the House of Lords applied a revised test set down by Goulding J in Carradine Properties v Aslam ie: ‘Is the notice quite clear to a reasonable tenant reading it? Is it plain that he cannot be misled by it?’

Accordingly, the ruling in Mannai allows the court to preserve the