Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

Why you need to follow the lease to the letter when serving a break notice

In our September/October 2013 update, we considered the High Court decision in Friends Life Ltd v Siemens Hearing Instruments Ltd. The High Court held that a break notice was effective, even though it didn’t comply with the requirements of the break clause in the lease. The Court of Appeal has now reversed this decision.

The break clause required written notice to be given to the landlord and was subject to notice timing and other pre-conditions for the exercise of the break. Unusually, the break clause also required that the tenant’s notice ‘must be expressed to be given under section 24(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954’.

Within the notice period specified in the break clause, the tenant served a notice on the landlord. The notice made reference to the break clause in the lease, but no reference was made in the notice to section 24(2) of the 1954 act. The landlord claimed that such an omission rendered the break notice ineffective…

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