How do break clauses operate?
Produced in partnership with Victoria Jones
How do break clauses operate?

The following Property guidance note Produced in partnership with Victoria Jones provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How do break clauses operate?
  • What is a break clause?
  • Who may exercise a break clause?
  • When may the break clause be exercised?
  • How may a break clause be exercised?
  • Can a break notice be withdrawn?
  • Special cases

What is a break clause?

A break clause is a clause that allows a landlord and/or a tenant to end a lease before the expiration of the fixed term, often at a particular point in the lease or upon the occurrence of a particular event.

The right to break gives a party flexibility and the opportunity to respond to changing market conditions.

Who may exercise a break clause?

The break clause will state who/which party is entitled to exercise the right.

Unless there is an express provision to the contrary (eg that the right is personal to the original landlord and/or tenant), the right to break may be exercised by any successors in title, as well as by the original party.

A break notice may only be served by the party in whom the legal estate is vested. In the case of registered land, care should be taken during any ‘registration gap’ to ensure that the break notice is served in the correct party’s name.

When may the break clause be exercised?

There are various possibilities as to when the right to break may be exercised:

  1. at any time (a 'rolling break')

  2. at any time after a specified date

  3. on an agreed date

The party wishing to exercise the right to break should carefully consider the wording of the lease as